NOAA's satellites are constantly monitoring the location, size, and intensity of wildfires across North America, and over the last six months they have tracked 323,828 fire targets. Each tiny speck of this image represents one fire signature detected a satellite’s thermal sensor. Included in this number are, for example, when GOES East and West both count the same fire hot spot – which may happen up to every 30 minutes. The month in which each fire occurred is represented here in shades of yellow and orange – the later in the year, the deeper the orange color. A seasonal shift can be seen in the location, and most likely the cause of the fires. Agricultural burning in the Southeast U.S., along with Cuba, in the early spring yields to agricultural and oil production fires in the Plains during the mid-summer. As the summer intensifies and drought conditions worsen, large wildfires are seen across the Rockies, Sierras, and even the boreal forests of Canada.
Note: the original title and caption were modified to distinguish between wildfire and more generic fires.