Meteorological conditions, extremely conducive to fire development and spread in the spring of 1987, resulted in forest fires burning over extremely large areas in the boreal forest zone in northeastern China and the southeastern region of Siberia. The great China fire, one of the largest and most destructive forest fires in recent history, occurred during this period in the Heilongjiang Province of China. Satellite imagery is used to examine the development and areal distribution of 1987 forest fires in this region. Overall trace gas emissions to the atmosphere from these fires are determined using a satellite-derived estimate of area burned in combination with fuel consumption figures and carbon emission ratios for boreal forest fires.
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