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Sunday, June 28, 2015



On April 27, 2015, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite observed dozens of fires burning in the eastern part of North Korea and parts of Russia north of North Korea. Actively burning areas, detected by the thermal bands on MODIS, are outlined in red.

While North Korea’s best agricultural land is located in the western part of the country, many people farm land along rivers in the mountainous areas. Fire is often used to clear debris from last year’s crops and to help fertilize the soil for the coming season.  While fire helps enhance crops and grasses for pasture, the fires also produce smoke that degrades air quality. The fires in this image have produced enough smoke to send plumes of haze drifting east over the Sea of Japan.  Last year at this time, the Earth Observatory posted a similar image of North Korea's agricultural fires.  NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner