IMAGES: Burning Issues

Science  31 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5573, pp. 1575
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5573.1575e

Feathery pennants of smoke mark bushfires raging near Sydney, Australia, in early January of this year. Whether accidental or intentional, fires such as these have a global impact, accounting for up to 40% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere.

Track the progress of current fires, nab updates on the prospects for future blazes, or glean statistics on past burns at the Global Fire Monitoring Center, a clearinghouse of wildfire data sponsored by the United Nations and hosted by the University of Freiburg in Germany. Discover where forests and grasslands are going up in flames with pictures snapped by NASA's Terra satellite, whose MODISinstrument keeps a glassy eye on fires around the globe. The site also links to daily summaries of burns in Mexico, Southeast Asia, Brazil, and North America, along with global, regional, and national predictions of fire danger. The risk maps for the United States, which are updated daily, show that this year, swaths of the western states are almost as flammable as a cheap cigar.

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