A river of smoke more than 100 kilometers wide streams several hundred
kilometers southward from fires (marked in red) in northern China (top
left) in this image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging
Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on
October 15, 2004. Another large cluster of fires is burning in
southeastern Russia (right).
According to news reports on October 18, at least some of the fires
in China were burning in and near forestry farms in northeast China's
Heilongjiang Province, and thousands of people and their property were
threatened by the blazes. The cause of the fires was still unknown.
Across the Amur River (called Heilong Jiang in Chinese), a state of
emergency had been declared in southeastern Russia as fires raged in the
region’s taiga forests, steppes, and peat bogs. Strong winds were
fanning the rapidly spreading fires, and weather was not expected to
improve in the short term.