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.
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.