The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites have been monitoring biomass burning activity in Southeast Asia as the season got underway more than a month ago. Up until now, fire activity has been concentrated in Myanmar and countries to the east, including Thailand and Laos. In this image from Aqua MODIS on March 16, 2004, fire activity is concentrated in southern India (center) and western Myanmar (right). Scores of fires were detected by MODIS and are marked in red. The densest cluster of fires is producing thick smoke.
At this time of year, many fires are being set intentionally for agricultural purposes. Though not necessarily immediately hazardous, such large-scale burning can have a strong impact on weather, climate, human health, and natural resources.
The high-resolution image provided above is 500 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response System provides this image at additional resolutions.
Thousands of fires burning in Southeast Asia were blanketing the region with blue-gray smoke at the time this image was captured by the MODIS instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite on March 27, 2004. MODIS has been capturing images of the region’s agricultural burning season since early February, but activity seems to have picked up considerably in mid to late March.