Fires and smoke on Madeira Island, Portugal Fires scorched Madeira Island in early August 2016, destroying more than 150 homes, killing three people, and forcing more than 1,000 people to evacuate. A summer heat wave and strong wind helped drive the fire spread, but authorities think that some may have been set by arsonists.
NASA satellites began to detect large numbers of fire on Madeira Island, Portugal on August 8. In the following days the fires spread rapidly and the amount of smoke increased dramatically. By August 12 the fires were mostly extinguished but they left large expanses of charred forest behind.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on August 11, 2016. A large red area in the southwest part of the island marks the heat signature of the fires detected by the thermal bands on the MODIS instrument. Gray smoke pours from the fires and pours first to the south then blows to the southwest.
Madeira officially the Autonomous Region of Madeira (Região Autónoma da Madeira), is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal (the other being the Azores). It is an archipelago situated in the north Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Portugal. Its total population was estimated in 2016 at 289,000. The capital of Madeira is Funchal, which is located on the main island’s south coast.
The archipelago is just under 400 kilometres (250 mi) north of Canary Islands. Bermuda and Madeira, a few time zones apart, are the only land in the Atlantic on the 32nd parallel north. It includes the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, and the Desertas, administered together with the separate archipelago of the Savage Islands. The region has political and administrative autonomy through the Administrative Political Statute of the Autonomous Region of Madeira provided for in the Portuguese Constitution. The autonomous region is an integral part of the European Union as an outermost region, Fires and smoke on Madeira Island, Portugal