image (730 Kb)
Feb. 6, 2003
-- For nearly six weeks, southeastern Australia has been experiencing
an unprecedented bushfire emergency. Following months of regional
drought -- the worst in 50 years -- this summer's fire season has
resulted in numerous large fires over much of the Great Dividing
Range as well as an enormous smoke pall over New South Wales, Victoria
and the adjacent South Pacific Ocean. The fires have advanced from
the lower foothills of the interior to higher elevations, recently
threatening ski resorts in the Snowy Mountains.
The crew onboard
the International Space Station took this dramatic image of the
fires on the morning of January 18, 2003. Brisk winds are sweeping
smoke plumes eastward off the Australian coast north of Cape Howe.
The agricultural valleys of the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers give
way to the burning, darker bush areas of the mountains with the
extreme eastern coastline of Victoria visible beyond. Images like
these are a unique contribution to our understanding of dynamic
events -- made possible by the human observer in orbit.
was provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory
at Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA-JSC Gateway
to Astronaut Photography of Earth.