NASA’s Terra satellite has beamed back pictures which show the wildfires which are currently burning in certain areas of the country. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Sepctroradiometer (MODIS) was used to take pictures of North Korea from orbit around the Earth, but certain details can be made out, writes Sean Breslin for Weather.com.
Fires reach North-South border
The images show a series of wildfires burning across North Korea, and a huge plume of smoke can be seen drifting across the East Sea/Sea of Japan, as far as Japan itself. Some fires are also set by farmers, but it is not known if some such fires have since spread out of control.
“As snow retreats in the spring, many farmers use fire to clear away last year’s crop debris and to fertilize the soil for the coming season,” according to NASA. Some of the fires could be part of this practice, but others are almost certainly wildfires.
The International Business Times reports that such fires have been burning for over a month across the Korean Peninsula. One blaze reached the Korean Demilitarization Zone at the end of March, spread by strong winds. Both sides cooperated in order to extinguish the fire, and no injuries or damage were reported.
Drought leads to wildfires, food shortages
A serious drought has been reported across North Korea, with some rivers running dry last summer. Precipitation levels did not increase over the winter, and it is thought that food shortages could become an issue if rainfall does not increase this summer.
North Korea is a constant fixture in the news, with Western media seemingly fascinated by the secretive nation. Our interest only seems to increase due to the absence of solid facts, which are replaced by rampant speculation and rumor. Trustworthy information is hard to come by given the fact that North Korea is the second most censored country in the world, according to a recent report.
Despite its general mistrust of foreigners, North Korea is currently cultivating stronger ties with Russia, which may be part of Vladimir Putin’s plan to sow discord around the globe.