Fire activity increasing as climate changes



Analysis of images from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellites shows that more than 2.5 million hectares were burned in 2012 from January through August in the United States. The amount is less than a record 3.2 million hectares in 2011 but greater than the area burned in 12 of 15 years since satellite monitoring began, scientists reported at the AGU Fall Meeting. With satellites “we can detect fires as they're actively burning,” said Louis Giglio of the University of Maryland, College Park, at a press conference on 4 December. “We can also map the cumulative area burned on the landscape after the fire's over.” He noted that “2012 has been a particularly big fire year” in the United States.