Numerous fires were burning when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over the Irkutsk region on May 10, 2013. Fields and grasslands appear brown, and red outlines mark the locations of actively burning fires. Snow (white) and forests (green) cover the Eastern Sayan Mountains on the lower left of the image. Part of the Angara River was choked with ice.
Many of the fires appear to be burning on farmland and were likely started by farmers. Livestock farming, reindeer herding, and grain cultivation dominates the region’s agricultural industry. Growers often burn debris from the previous year’s crop before replanting in order to clear the land and fertilize the soil.