The MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of fires burning in Southeast Asia on April 3, 2003. The fires, outlined in red, are spread very heavily throughout eastern Myanmar (center) and are likely agricultural in origin. Fire is often used to clear fields and pasture to prepare for new plant growth, though the smoke from these fires adversely affects local air quality. In this image, winds blow the grayish-blue smoke to the east over neighboring countries and towards the Gulf of Tonking (right edge) and the South China Sea (not visible).
Clockwise from top left, the countries shown are India, Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Bangladesh (upper left edge). To the southwest of Myanmar is the Bay of Bengal; due south is the Andaman Sea.
The high-resolution image provided above is 500 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response System provides this image at MODIS’ maximum spatial resolution of 250 meters.
The intense biomass burning in Southeast Asia, ongoing for the last several months, has released high levels of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere over the region, as measured by the Terra MOPITT sensor from April 3-13, 2003.