Across a broad area of west-central Africa, hundreds, probably thousands of fires were burning on June 16, 2004, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’ Aqua satellite captured this image. Pixels in which fires were detected are marked with yellow dots. The scene shows parts of Democratic Republic of Congo (roughly top third of image), Angola (middle), and Botswana (bottom).
The widespread nature of the fires, their location, and the time of year suggest these are agricultural fires being used to clear and renew pasture or farmland. While they are not necessarily immediately hazardous, such fires can have a strong impact on weather, climate, human health, and natural resources.