Contact: Rob Gutro
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Caption: A large fire in a northern Florida swamp is generating a lot of smoke along the Georgia county line and has caused Smoke Advisories to be posted from Hamilton County to Jacksonville, Fla. on April 9, 2012. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument that flies onboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured an image of fires and smoke from the County Line Fire in northern Florida on April 7 at 18:45 UTC (2:45 pm EDT). MODIS can detect heat signatures from its vantage point in space. In the image, the fires appear as red squares and smoke from the fires appears a light brown color. At the time of this image, the smoke was blowing west and over Interstate 75 that runs north-south from Georgia into Florida and Florida state roads 90 and 100, causing reductions in visibility. The fire is burning in the Pinhook Swamp in Hamilton County, Florida, according to WTEV-TV, Channel 47. Pinhook Swamp is just west of the John M. Bethea State Forest. The swamp fire has burned about 7,000 acres, and the area affected runs along the Columbia and Baker County line. On April 9, 2012, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Dense Smoke Advisory for Columbia, Baker, Union, Bradford, and Alachua Counties. The NWS advisory stated, "The county line wildfire in northern Columbia County will continue to send dense smoke downwind of the fire today. Dense smoke will spread south and east from northern Columbia and Baker counties as far south as Alachua County." The NWS cautioned, "Light west-southwest winds will send some of the smoke into the Okefenokee Swamp and possibly as far east as the Jacksonville and Brunswick metro areas on Monday, April 9, 2012." The Orlando Sentinel newspaper reported on April 6 that over 27,000 acres in Florida have burned from 1,210 wildfires since the beginning of the year, per the Florida Forest Service. Drought conditions are worst in north and northeast Florida, with severe drought in northern central Florida. The Florida Forest Service issued an incident map of wildfires occurring in Florida as of April 6, 2012. To see the map, visit: http://www.floridaforestservice.com/wildfire/wf_info_docs/maps/ActiveWildfiresMap.pdf.
Credit: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Rob Gutro
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