From a NASA Web Site:
NASA has released a series of new satellite data visualizations that show tens of millions of fires detected worldwide from space since 2002. The visualizations show fire observations made by the MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, instruments onboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites.
One of the new visualizations takes viewers on a narrated global tour of fires detected between July 2002 and July 2011. The fire data is combined with satellite views of vegetation and snow cover to show how fires relate to seasonal changes. The Terra and Aqua satellites were launched in 1999 and 2002, respectively.
The tour begins by showing extensive grassland fires spreading across interior Australia and the eucalyptus forests in the northwestern and eastern part of the continent. The tour then shifts to Asia where large numbers of agricultural fires are visible first in China in June 2004, then across a huge swath of Europe and western Russia in August. It then moves across India and Southeast Asia, through the early part of 2005. The tour continues across Africa, South America, and concludes in North America.
The global fire data show that Africa has more abundant burning than any other continent. MODIS observations have shown that some 70 percent of the world’s fires occur in Africa. During a fairly average burning season from July through September 2006, the visualizations show a huge outbreak of savanna fires in Central Africa driven mainly by agricultural activities, but also driven by lightning strikes.
Fires are comparatively rare in North America, making up just 2 percent of the world’s burned area each year. The fires that receive the most attention in the United States — the uncontrolled forest fires in the West — are less visible than the wave of agricultural fires prominent in the Southeast and along the Mississippi River Valley. Some of the large wildfires that ravaged Texas this year are visible in the animation.
Direct to Visualization and More Info