Smoke from thousands of fires in South America near the border of Brazil and Bolivia blankets much of the continent in mid-September 2004. The abundance of smoke is an indication that forests are burning, and not just grasslands or existing agricultural land being prepared for a new growing season. Along the west coast of the continent, the Andes Mountains create a partial barrier to the spread of the smoke. The red dots in this image, which is a composite of observations captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites on September 20, 2004, are active fire detections.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained from the MODIS Rapid Response team.