February and March are the usual months for widespread agricultural burning in Southeast Asia. People use fire to clear land for spring planting and for renewing grazing lands. This image of the region was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on March 26, 2006, and it shows hundreds of active fires (marked in red) burning. Smoke wafts into the skies and drifts eastward, where it gives the clouds a dirty appearance. MODIS cannot tell the cause of the fires it detects, and although it is the agricultural burning season in Southeast Asia, it is also the dry season. It is possible that some of these fires are the result of accidents or carelessness by people or natural causes.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided courtesy of MODIS Rapid Response team.