South Africa Wildfires 2017

Start Date

June 6, 2017


Aerial photograph of wildfires in South Africa from June 7, 2017.

Aerial photograph of wildfires in South Africa from June 7, 2017.
Credit: SA Red Cross Air Mercy Services 

The Knysna Wildfire began the evening of June 6, 2017 and by June 7, consisted of 26 fires. These fires were fanned towards residential areas by strong winds from a cyclone to the west. The towns of Belvidere, Breonton-on-Sea, and Rheenendal were evacuated after news that a family of three passed away in the fire on June 6. The smoke observed by MISR on June 7 was injected at 3+ km. At this height, the aerosols can escape the boundary layer and enter the middle Troposphere, causing enhanced regional cooling and increased long-range aerosol transport.

Latest Updates

June 14, 2017
ISS Georeferenced Digital Camera Images from South Africa wildfires 2017
Click here to view the full image collection and download  high quality georeferenced images. This collection of digital camera images was taken by astronauts onboard the International Space Station on June 14th, 2017, then manually georeferenced by members of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at NASA Johnson Space Center
June 7, 2017
MISR-MINX height map smoke plume.
Wildfire outbreaks can generate a significant amount of atmospheric aerosols that can have regional to global impacts on Earth’s energy balance and surface temperature. To determine the influence of wildfires, accurate plume heights are needed, but are difficult to obtain in areas of significant cloud cover. Stereo images from NASA’s Multi-Angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) make it possible to retrieve plume heights using parallax by constraining the smoke plume layer height. When the retrieval height is significantly below the Lifting Condensation Level (LCL), the effects of cloud...