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Fires in Central and Southern Africa

Fires in Central and Southern Africa

Hundreds, possibly thousands of fires, were burning across central Africa on June 24, 2006, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite passed overhead. The sensor collected this image and detected actively burning fires, which are marked in red. Smoke is particularly thick in the northwest (upper left) part of the image. Fires stretch eastward all the way from Angola’s Atlantic Ocean coastline (left) to Lake Tanganyika (upper right).

The widespread nature of the fires and the time of year suggest that people are setting many of these fires for agricultural purposes. Though not necessarily immediately hazardous, such large-scale burning can have a strong impact on weather, climate, human health, and natural resources.

The high-resolution image provided above has a spatial resolution of 500 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response System provides this image at additional resolutions.

NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center.