By Lynn Jenner
24 August 2015
(NASA) – Lake Baikal in Eastern Russia, the deepest and oldest lake in the world, is home to 20 percent of the world’s unfrozen fresh water. As of 24 August 2015 this lake is facing a crisis with 36 fires equaling an area of 138,500 hectares (342,240 acres) currently burning around its shores. The fires which surround the lake are cutting off its water arteries, which can adversely affect the ecological balance of the lake. At present the depth of the lake is at an all-time low. As a result, the drier coastline could lead to more summertime wildfires. Soot and ash are washing up on the shores of the lake and the skies above the lake, a popular tourist area, are completely covered in smoke. So too, an unusually hot summer and a lack of rainfall have contributed to making the situation worse.
This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite on August 22, 2015. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red. NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team.