A smoky haze lay over the Yucatan Peninsula on May 6, 2006, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this image. The smoke is coming from fires burning throughout southern Mexico and Central America. A large cluster of fires, outlined in red, was sending up thick smoke from the eastern tip of the peninsula. The forests at the tip of the Yucatan suffered damage from Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Although it is impossible to tell how the fires started from the satellite image, May is near the end of the region’s dry season, when fires are common. Many fires are intentionally set to clear land for agriculture, but some may also be accidental or natural fires.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team.