Public Release: 

Human caused fires burn in Northwest Territories in Canada

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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IMAGE: Summer weather brings warm, sultry days, but it also brings summer storms and lightning, which is one of the natural ways that fires begin. The other culprit for starting... view more

Credit: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Lynn Jenner

As the weather starts to heat up so do the incidents of wildfires. This Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite detected about a dozen fires burning in the Northwest Territories in Canada on May 28, 2015. The fires are outlined in red. Summer weather brings warm, sultry days, but it also brings summer storms and lightning, which is one of the natural ways that fires begin. The other culprit for starting fires is humans. Human-started fires actually account for close to 90 percent of wildfires that occur. The Northwest Territories Wildfire (nwt.com) is reporting that to date there have been 46 fires that have burned 40,632 hectares (100,403 acres). The site also reported that of the last three fires started in the last 48 hours, two were human started fires - one caused by someone burning grass that got out of control and another caused by an unattended campfire. The unattended campfire has burned 30 hectares (74 acres). The grass burning caused .5 hectare of damage (1.23 acres), and the one fire caused by lightning burned .01 hectares (1/4 acre).

It is important to remember that fires can be prevented by a few common sense rules:

  • keep track of debris burning (if legal in your area)
  • watch out for equipment fires from lawnmowers, ATVs, power equipment etc.
  • make sure cigarettes are completely out before disgarding
  • attend campfires and make sure they are out before leaving them
  • watch out for sparks from fireworks - best let experts deal with fireworks
  • do not carelessly discard fireplace or BBQ ashes

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NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Lynn Jenner

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