The agricultural burning season was solidly underway in central Africa on May 18, 2005, when this image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Each red dot in this image marks a location where MODIS detected a fire. Fires are scattered across much of Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia.
The widespread nature of the fires, their location, and the time of year all suggest that people are intentionally setting most of these fires for agricultural purposes. Though not necessarily 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.
Image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA-GSFC