Fires on the Yucatan Peninsula cast a pall of smoke over the Gulf of Mexico on May 8, 2006, veiling its dark blue waters with a dingy white haze. The fires have been marked with red in this photo-like image, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Although a dense cluster of fires on the eastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula is producing a thick cloud of smoke, much of the haze appears to be coming from fires burning throughout southern Mexico and Central America. May is near the end of the region’s dry season, when fires are common. People set many fires to clear land for agriculture, but some of the fires may be accidental or natural.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team.