What is causing the fires?
Humans are responsible for an estimated 75% of all wildfires in recent years. In the tropics, fires are often set intentionally to clear land for agriculture. This method, sometimes referred to as slash-and-burn agriculture, is part of a cycle in which forests are felled in the wet season and, as the dry season progresses, are set ablaze to enrich the soil and prepare for planting or for cattle grazing.
In the Northern Hemisphere, this is attributed to negligence
This seems to not bode well at all. We need to step up our permaculture game. From what I've read this is going to stop rains and drive the spread of deserts by taking away the trees that bring in the rain. So sad.
It certainly makes California look better at face value! I'd be interested in un-packing it a little more, quantitatively. Math time!
The author in the link wrote:"(Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) detects hot spots at a resolution of 375 meters per pixel, which means it can detect smaller, lower temperature fires than other fire-observing satellites."
Okay, so resolution is 375m = 3 football (soccer) field lengths. So I would think that means that each pixel on the image represents about 9 football fields (3 x 3) in area. More specifically:
375m * 375m = 140,625 meters^2
Now, what about the colors?
I looked up Fire Radiative Power, and a NASA site said it is "the rate of emitted radiative energy by the fire at the time of the observation...Fire Radiative Power is expressed in units of power, such as Watts (W).
It looks like the color scale in the lower left corner of the animation goes from:
1MW (red) up to
50MW (orange-ish) to
150MW (yellow) up to
So from there, I would think you could compare how much heat the picture is depicting over a given area, to say, a RMH (if you knew the wattage), or more likely, an appliance, like a 1kw coffee maker.
To get red on the chart, energy power per area is:
Red = 1MW = 1000kw = 1000 coffee makers worth of energy power.
So...how much area per coffee-maker?
1000 coffee makers
That's about 140m^2 per coffee maker. In English units, that's about 1500 sqft per coffee maker.
Put another way, if you lived in a city in an apartment less than 140m^2 (1500 sqft), and you turned on just your coffee maker, you have now produced enough energy power to glow "red" on the chart.
Of course, it's electrical energy instead of chemical reaction energy in the form of fire, so it won't register on a satellite. But somewhere out there, unless you're on nuclear power, hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, or wind, there's a fire burning for you each morning, too!