Smoke from wildfires in Portugal

Smoke from wildfires in Portugal

08 August 2016 15:30 UTC and 10 August 08:30 UTC

Smoke from wildfires in Portugal
Smoke from wildfires in Portugal

Smoke from widespread wildfires which ravaged parts of Portugal in early August 2016, was seen by Meteosat-10 on 8 August.

Last Updated

22 October 2020

Published on

08 August 2016

By Mark Higgins

The imagery, Figure 1 (above right) and animation, shows the smoke as a light blue colour (indicated with red arrows on Figure 1) travelling from the fires across the Atlantic Ocean . The red hot spots are identified from the 3.9 micron channel. These are often indicative of burning areas.

 Met-10 Natural Colour RGB, 8 Aug 15:30 UTC
Figure 1: Met-10 Natural Colour RGB, 8 Aug 15:30 UTC

Although wildfires are common in the summer months, a state of emergency was declared in northern Portugal after more than 700 fires raged for days.

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 Meteosat-10 Natural Colour RGB & infrared, 10 August 08:30 UTC
Figure 2: Meteosat-10 Natural Colour RGB & infrared, 10 August 08:30 UTC
Fires on Maderia

In the following days the Portuguese island of Maderia was also hit be severe wildfires. Figure 2 is the Meteosat-10 image showing the hotspots where fires were present.

Thousands were evacuated, hundreds of properties were damaged and at least three people died as a result of the fires.

The two Suomi-NPP VIIRS images, at 375m resolution, from 10 Aug 14:15 UTC (Figure 3), show more details of the fires in the early afternoon.

The Natural Colour RGB (left) shows burnt scars (blue-grey), flame marks (orange pixels), two of which are found in the eastern burn scar (near Funchal), and two smoke plumes driven off the southern coast by the north-eastern trade winds.

When the hot spots, pixels with temperature around 320 K taken from band IR3.74, are added to the RGB (right), the extent of the two areas set on fire is very visible.

Image comparison

Natural Colour RGB with infrared compare1
compare2
 

Comparison of Suomi-NPP VIIRS images, 10 Aug 14:15 UTC, showing the extent and intense heat of the fires.

The sequence of Natural Colour RGB , 10 Aug 08:00–18:00 UTC shows the bluish smoke that moves of the coast under north-east trade winds.

While at the beginning of the movie the smoke is essentially originating from the north west corner of Madeira, during the day a second fire area became active near Funchal, sending out a second smoke plume.

Additional content

Smoke from Fires on Mainland Portugal (NASA Goddard)
Thousands of Firefighters Battle Forest Blazes in Portugal (ABC News)
Northern Portugal declares forest fire emergency (Euronews)
Fiery night for Portugal (The Portugal News)

 

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