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Map courtesy NASA:  MODIS Dec 16, 2012 – Dec 25, 2012. Each of these fire maps accumulates the locations of the fires detected by MODIS on board the Terra and Aqua satellites over a 10-day period. Each colored dot indicates a location where MODIS detected at least one fire during the compositing period. Color ranges from red where the fire count is low to yellow where number of fires is large. The compositing periods are referenced by their start and end dates (julian day). The duration of each compositing period was set to 10 days. Compositing periods are reset every year to make year-to-year comparisons straightforward. The first compositing period of each year starts on January 1. The last compositing period of each year includes a few days from the next year.

 

 

 

 

 

The United States saw over 56,000 forest fires during 2012. Millions of trees were destroyed. Trees provide beauty, shelter, clean air and drinking water.  Best of all they can be replanted where they were lost due to fire.  Yet, over one million acres of the country’s national forests are on backlog for planting according to the Arbor Day Foundation.  Causes of the fires are varied.  They can start from camp fires, burning cigarettes, arson or lightning. Fires in the state of Idaho are typical. The Mustang Complex Fire is the largest. Starting with a lightning strike, it has consumed over 340,000 acres. 

Drought and heat add to the potential for fire and infestation from pine bark beetles can turn a forest into a tinderbox, just waiting for a spark.  Yet in 2006, 83 percent of fires were started as a result of human activity and contributed to the burning of 4.4 million acres according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

 

What can we do to assist those committed to preserving our national tree heritage?

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