Russia's Summer Fires Tracked for 'atlas'

PARIS, Sept. 13 (UPI) — Data from European satellites show more wildfires burned around Moscow this year than in the last 15 years, scientists say.

The European Space Agency’s ERS-2 and Envisat satellites tracked the forest and peat bog fires that ignited this summer amid an unprecedented heat wave of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, ESA officials said in a release Monday.

Data about fires across Russia from July 1996 to the present were used to plot the number of fires occurring monthly.

The region near Moscow showed about six times the number of fires this August compared with previous years, researchers said.

The ESA compiled the satellite data into a World Fire Atlas, the longest worldwide fire records available with time, date, longitude and latitude of fire hot sports, agency officials said.

The atlas will be an important scientific resource for research on global atmospheric pollution, atmospheric chemistry, land-use change, global change ecology, meteorology and fire prevention and management, the ESA said.

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