Across the southern United States, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite detected scores of fires burning on March 24, 2003. In the image, the fires have been marked with red dots. At this time of year, the fires can have a variety of causes. Some are prescribed fires being set by state and federal land and forest management agencies to reduce fuels in preparation for the summer wildfire season. A few are wildfires, and others are agricultural fires being used to clear pasture or farmland.
The fires are heavily concentrated in Oklahoma (left center), while the fires with the largest smoke plumes are to the east in Arkansas. At bottom center, the Mississippi River flows out into the Gulf of Mexico through Louisiana.
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.