NASA's fire information system shows India studded with 'active fire spots'

WION Web Team Delhi, India Apr 30, 2018, 08.36 AM(IST)

Image via NASA/FIRMS. Photograph:( Others )

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NASA's FIRMS depicts 'near real-time active fire locations to natural resource managers that faced challenges obtaining timely satellite-derived fire information'

Images from NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) depict large areas of India lit up in red suggesting active fire locations.

A large chunk of the 'fire locations' are seen spread across north and central India.

NASA's FIRMS depicts "near real-time active fire locations to natural resource managers that faced challenges obtaining timely satellite-derived fire information," mentions the official. 

The active fire locations shown on maps are a combination of forest fire locations as well as crop burning sites.

The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) describes 33 to 90 per cent of forest area in various Indian states as fire prone. 

"While statistical data on fire loss is weak, it is estimated that the proportion of forest areas prone to fires annually ranges from 33% in some states to over 90% in other. About 90% of the forest fires in India are created by humans. India witnessed the most severe forest fires in the recent time during the summer of 1995 in the hills of Uttar Pradesh & Himachal Pradesh. The fires were very severe. An area of 677,700 ha was affected by fires," mentioned the ISDR website. 

On the other hand, agricultural experts primarily link the highly active 'fire spots' in India to the increased practice of crop burning across the country. 

Farmers prefer burning agricultural residue as it is cheaper and can easily be done without employing labour. Using a harvester usually slashes the expense of getting rid of the agricultural residue by more than half. 

Burning crop residue contributes to the rising black carbon emissions in the country, air pollution and escalating temperatures, especially during summers.