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Activation of the International Charter 'Space and Major Disasters' for Fires in the Canary Islands

Fires in the Canary Islands

The fire, which began on 31 July, destroyed around 1,000 hectares of land on La Palma Island and forced some 4,000 evacuations on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands. The International Charter was activated on August 5, and the first data was made available on August 7. The fires were extinguished at the time of acquisition of the images.

The first image was acquired by a DMCii satellite (Disaster Monitoring Constellation International Imaging). The image was acquired both in the visible and the infrared part of the spectrum and as such, is very sensitive to the vegetation cover. Vegetation is in red and the fire scars are relatively well outlined (yellow line).

Around 2 PM on the same day, Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Bob Thirsk had the chance to take a picture of the island from the International Space Station. His image was acquired using a digital camera equipped with a telephoto lens and is presented here. The details on Bob's picture are spectacular, we can easily see houses and buildings and the fires scars can also be detected (yellow line).

Images acquired from space have a very high impact. Acquired from a satellite or from the ISS, the images provide complementary information that is very useful to organisations that have to deal with these difficult situations.

Date: 07-AUG-2009
Time: 09:50:26
Mission: UK-DMC
Resolution: 32 m
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