In Africa’s Great Rift Valley Lakes region, numerous fires were detected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on September 25, 2002. The fires, which are marked with red dots, are part of an ancient cycle of fire and agriculture on the continent, in which farmers and herders use fire as a natural resource management tool. Fires are set on purpose to clear land for planting and to force regrowth of grasses and other fodder. During the burning season hundreds of these fires can be burning on any given day all across the continent.
Hundreds of fires were burning in several central and southern African countries during the annual burning season. These images show fires scattered across Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Angola, and Zambia from late July and into September 2002.