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Fires in Central and Southern Africa

Fires in Central and Southern Africa

Scores of fire detections are indicated by red dots in this true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) acquired on October 6, 2002. In the top center of the image is Lake Tanganyika. In the upper right quadrant of the image, sun glint gives Lake Malawi a washed out appearance. Though fires are scattered across numerous countries, the heaviest concentration is in Zambia, between the two lakes. Agricultural fires have been part of the ecological cycles in Africa for perhaps thousands of years, used to clear land and regenerate pasture. Scientists are studying these cycles to assess their impact on air quality, global warming, and ecosystem change.

Image by Jesse Allen, based on data from the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA-GSFC