A Month of Fires in Thantlang, Myanmar

Satellite Imagery, Thermal Anomalies Data Show Numerous Burnings

Carolina Jordá Álvarez

Senior Geospatial Analyst, Digital Investigations Lab

Since October 29, numerous fires have severely damaged Thantlang, a remote town in Myanmar’s northwestern Chin State. The evidence from space is undeniable: residential homes, places of worship, commercial buildings, and more have been reduced to ash.

To monitor the situation, Human Rights Watch used data provided by the Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS), which distributes Near Real-Time (NRT) thermal anomalies and active fire data within three hours of satellite observation from MODIS and VIIRS instruments.

These environmental satellites have detected several thermal anomalies over Thantlang town on at least 10 different dates in the past month, during the day and at night.