Steppe fires in eastern Mongolia •

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a smoky steppe fire in eastern Mongolia.

“When spring warmth melts snow off the steppe of eastern Mongolia, the remains of last year’s plant growth are exposed. In dry and windy conditions, these brown, withered grasslands can become tinder for wildfires,” reports NASA.

Hundreds of people, including firefighters, soldiers and local residents, are battling to extinguish steppe fires that broke out in the provinces of Dornod and Sukhbaatar.

Fire was first detected in satellite images that were captured by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) overnight on April 18. Within 24 hours, the fire had spread about 60 miles to the east. 

According to University of Wisconsin-Madison meteorologist Scott Bachmeier, strong winds – driven by a tight atmospheric pressure gradient between a high over central China and a low over Siberia – likely contributed to the rapid spread of the fire, 

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day