- Status Report
- August 14, 2022
NASA MODIS Image of the Day: May 24, 2007 – Fires and Smoke in Georgia and Florida
This image, captured by the MODIS on the Aqua satellite, shows the Bugaboo Fire on May 21, 2006. Called “Bugaboo Scrub” in Georgia and “Florida Bugaboo” in Florida, the fire marched across the Okefenokee Swamp and adjacent land, including pine plantations and state parks, in Georgia and Florida in May 2007.
As of May 20, the Southern Area Coordination Center estimated the size of the affected area as more than 287,000 acres (1,161 square kilometers). A lightning strike started the blaze on Bugaboo Scrub Island in the Okefenokee Swamp in southeastern Georgia on May 5, and the fire engulfed thousands of acres a day as it spread south into Florida.
Fires are not uncommon in the peat-rich swamps of the southeastern United States. The Okefenokee Swamp harbors diverse vegetation communities, from marshes to tree-covered islands. During times of drought, the thick layers of peat–dead vegetation that doesn’t decay because it is submerged in water–dry out and become extremely flammable, as do the marsh grasses and scrub vegetation. Southern pine trees add to the flammability. In May 2007, southeastern Georgia and northern Florida were experiencing extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which increased the risk that any fires that did start this season would become large and out-of-control.