Remote sensing, while obviously having its limits, means that some fog of war can be lifted. In the past days I have been keeping an eye every now and then on the EU’s forest fire detection system. It shows satellite observed fire sources. Some of that is indeed forest fire, but a lot is also human activity. Currently it is also a proxy for the fighting in Ukraine. In the screen shot below you see the area NW of Kyiv, with Hostomel airport (blue dots in the middle top) and Irpin (red and orange dots in the middle bottom) for instance. Red dots are fires detected in the past day, orange the past week, and blue the past month. It appears that where there has been heavy fighting around Hostomel earlier, the blue dots, in the past week a lot of fighting took place in Irpin.

Click to enlarge, screenshot of the EFFIS service

It’s weird to look at those dots, not knowing what they normally mean in the context of this data service, while also being aware what destruction and death on the ground they are a proxy for right now.

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