Catastrophic fires in Corsica/Haute-Corse, 1 July 2005.
24 May 2022
01 July 2005
By Jochen Kerkmann (EUMETSAT)
During the period 30 June to 2 July, two major fires destroyed more than 2,200 hectares of forest and bushland in Haute-Corse, in the area of Calvi and St Florent. About 160 firemen were fighting to control the fire in Calenzana (Balagne), which destroyed more than 1,800 hectares of vegetated land. On 2 July 2005, the meteorological conditions improved (the Mistral wind, which had been blowing at 150km/h, decreased) such that the fires came finally under control.
The images below show the situation on 1 July at 13:00 UTC, when the Mistral winds were still blowing at full strength. The fires (hot spots) can be seen in the IR3.9 image (Figure 1) as red spots. A special enhancement has been used to identify the hottest pixels within the image.
The animation (Figure 2) shows that the temperature of the hot spots varied significantly during the afternoon. Reasons for this can be changes in the temperature and extension of the fires, changes in the cloud coverage, and the diurnal cycle of the surface temperature. The HRV image (Figure 3) shows the spectacular smoke plume of the fires, which crossed the Tyrrhenian Sea and reached Italy (Tuscany). The fires cannot be detected in the Land Surface Temperature (LST) product, which has a coarser resolution and which, during day-time, does not make use of the IR3.9 channel.
On the same day, the strong Mistral also caused two major fires in Southern France (see red spots in the IR3.9 image). It is not known whether these fires were severe, but the HRV animated gif (Figure 4) shows a long, thin smoke plume from southern France towards Corsica, indicating the main wind direction in this area.
Finally, the fires can also be detected in the two RGB composites (Figure 5 and 6), which make use of the IR3.9 channel. They also show the general synoptic weather situation, with a frontal system over eastern Germany and Austria, stau cloudiness north of the Alps and strong foehn winds over north-western Italy.
Land Surface Temperature (LST) product (13:00 UTC, source: Land Surface Analysis SAF)