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From: Dan Richter (1:317/3)
To: All
Date: Sat, 03.04.21 13:00
MODIS Pic of the Day 03 April 2021
April 3, 2021 - Prescribed Burns across Arkansas and Oklahoma


Fires in Arkansas, Oklahoma

Multiple fires were burning in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and
Oklahoma in the opening days of April 2021. The Moderate Resolution
Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Aqua satellite
acquired a true-color image of the fires on April 1.

Each red “hot spot” marks an area where the thermal bands on the MODIS
instrument detected high temperatures. When accompanied by typical
smoke—as in most of the hot spots in this image—they are diagnostic for
actively burning fire. The heaviest smoke pours from three fires in
Arkansas (east) and substantial smoke also rises from two hot spots in
Oklahoma (west). Multiple smaller hot spots dot the landscape of

While the MODIS instrument can easily detect fires, satellite imagery
can’t disclose the cause of a fire. In these locations and in this time
of year, fires are frequently set deliberately and managed to improve
private or corporate farmland (agricultural fire) or public
forests/grasslands (prescribed burns). Wildfires, which are accidental
and unmanaged fires, may also occur in the spring but are more frequent
in the summer and autumn or after a drought.

According to InciWeb Incident Information System, no large wildfires
were reported in either Oklahoma or Arkansas on April 2. The Oklahoma
Department of Forestry reported dry conditions but only minimal
wildfire activity in a report published on-line on April 1. Only two
notable fires burned in the southeast, including one escaped debris
fire and one incendiary. There were 2 large wildfires reported in the
state and one was 80 percent contained and the other was 100 percent
contained. On the other hand, Oklahoma reported prescribed fires
treating 82 acres. On April 2, the Arkansas Forestry Commission noted
several dozen active prescribed burns across the state.

Given the lack of reporting of large or widespread wildfire activity
and the confirmation active prescribed burning, it is relatively safe
to assume that the fires visible in this image are prescribed burns.
According to the Ouachita National Forest “Since the beginning of time,
fires have burned in the forests of Arkansas and Oklahoma, playing a
vital role in keeping the land healthy. Fire reduces dead vegetation,
replenishes nutrients in the soil, stimulates new growth, and maintains
biological diversity.”

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 4/1/2021
Resolutions: 1km (164.2 KB), 500m (111.5 KB), 250m (416.3
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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