On April 27, 2004, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite captured this image of scores of smoking fires (red dots) burning in the West African country of Guinea. Though some fires are burning in the coastal regions, most are concentrated in the Fouta Djallon Highlands in the central part of the country, the country’s agricultural heart.
The widespread nature of the fires and the time of year suggests these fires are being set intentionally for agricultural purposes like pasture and farmland clearing. Though not necessarily immediately hazardous, such burning can have a strong impact on climate, weather, human health, and natural resources.
Image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA-GSFC.