Fires in Kazakhstan

In central Kazakhstan, an extremely continental climate creates vast grasslands that in this part of the world are called steppes. Continental climates are generally dry and have great temperature extremes between winter and summer. In this part of Kazakhstan, winters are cold and short, and summers are long, hot, and dry. In the summer, the possibility of out-of-control fires is high, due to both lightning and human activities, such as intentional pasture fires that escape.

This Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from June 15, 2005, shows several large fires burning in the steppes to the west of Lake Balkhash. Fire locations that MODIS detected are marked in red. Whether these fires are intentional, accidental, or natural is something MODIS cannot determine. Regardless of their origin, reports from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, these grassland fires cause considerable damage each year to hay and cereal crop production in the region.