Thick smoke buried the island of Borneo on October 12, 2006. This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite shows a cloud of smoke pooled over the heart of the island. Along the southern part of the island, scores of active fires (locations that MODIS detected marked in red) billowed gray-brown smoke. As the smoke spread north and mingled with clouds (white), it became a diffuse, gray haze.
The fires had been burning for several weeks, creating transportation and health problems across the region. Fires are common in the dry season, despite the Indonesian government’s efforts to control illegal burning. Brush fires on agricultural land spread into forests and peat swamp areas, which produce huge amounts of smoke when they burn. Some fires may also due to slash-and-burn deforestation, a cheap method of clearing the rainforest for farming or tree plantations.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team.
- Terra - MODIS