With dozens of forest fires burning in Russia's Irkutsk region, authorities have declared a state of emergency. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite captured this image on May 18, 2014. The red outlines indicate hot spots where MODIS detected unusually warm surface temperatures associated with fires. The image is centered at 56.76 degrees North and 105.47 degrees East. The Irkutsk fires triggered the first confirmed pyrocumulus clouds of the 2014 fire season in the northern hemisphere, according U.S. Naval Research Laboratory meteorologist Mike Fromm. Meteorologists monitor pyrocumulus because the clouds can pump smoke and pollutants high into the atmosphere, get dispersed by winds, and affect air quality over a broad area. On May 19, MODIS observed smoke from Irkutsk wildfires mixing with clouds and moving northeast. A preliminary analysis of data acquired by the Multi-Angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) on NASA's Terra satellite suggested the smoke had reached between 11 and 12 kilometers and was moving about 140 kilometers (87 miles) per hour.
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