Unusual wildfire burning in western Greenland

Unusual wildfire burning in western Greenland

Satellites have detected a sizable wildfire burning in western Greenland, about 150 km (90 miles) northeast of Sismut, the second largest town in Greenland (population 5 500).

Satellites first detected evidence of the fire on July 31, 2017 and kept collecting the images over the next 7 days. The fire appears to be burning through peat.

Wildfire in western Greenland on August 3, 2017

Wildfire in western Greenland on August 3, 2017. Credit: ESA/Copernicus Sentinel-2B (pre-operations data)

Wildfire in western Greenland on August 3, 2017

Wildfire in western Greenland on August 3, 2017. Image credit: USGS Landsat-8/OLI

Wildfire in western Greenland on August 3, 2017

Wildfire in western Greenland on August 3, 2017. Image credit: USGS Landsat-8/OLI

While it is not unprecedented for satellites to observe fire activity in Greenland, a preliminary analysis shared by Stef Lhermitte of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands suggests that MODIS has detected far more fire activity in Greenland in 2017 than it did during any other year since the sensor began collecting data in 2002. 

It is not yet clear what triggered the fire.

Featured image: Close-up of a wildfire burning in western Greenland on August 3, 2017. Credit: USGS Landsat-8/OLI

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