Summer heat fuels fires in Argentina’s Iberá National Park •

Summer heat fuels fires in Argentina’s Iberá National Park

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features Iberá National Park in northeastern Argentina, where fires have been burning since late December 2022. The photograph shows smoke rising from fires on the northwest side of Iberá National Park in the Corrientes province on February 19, 2023. 

“Iberá National Park is a protected area of wetlands and grasslands established in 2018 with land acquired by conservation groups and then donated to the government of Argentina. Encompassing 1,370 square kilometers (530 square miles) of the Corrientes region, the park is part of a ‘rewilding’ program which aims to reintroduce keystone species to the oasis such as jaguars and capybaras that have previously been driven away by hunting, ranching, and other human activities,” says NASA.

“This area of Argentina is no stranger to fires. Last year more than 520,000 hectares (1.3 million acres) were burned in the Corrientes region and surrounding provinces. In 2022 and so far in 2023, fire activity has been unusually high in the region, according to Mark Parrington, senior scientist at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).”

Parrington said that, for the second year in a row, Corrientes province is experiencing much higher fire activity than experienced over the last two decades. “So far this year, the fires seem to be much more localized around the Iberá wetlands compared to more widespread fires across northern Argentina and southern Paraguay in 2022.”

While the exact cause of the fire outbreak is not known, intense heat and drought are keeping the fires burning. On February 13, Argentina’s National Meteorological Service issued warnings when temperatures exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The agency reports that this is the eighth heatwave in the country this summer.

The image was captured by the Operational Land Imager-2 (OLI-2) on the Landsat 9 satellite. 

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/ Lauren Dauphin

By Chrissy Sexton, Editor

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