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Fires on Borneo

Fires on Borneo

Thick smoke hung over the island of Borneo when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite passed overhead on October 5, 2006. The sensor detected scores of fires (locations marked in red) in the Kalimantan province of Indonesia, and smoke billowed northward over the Malaysian part of the island, as well. The fires occur annually in the dry season (August-October), caused mainly by land-clearing and other agricultural fires. Fires escape control and burn into forests and peat-swamp areas. Fires in peat—thick layers of dead, but un-decayed vegetation—are extremely smoky and difficult to put out. Some of the blazes will only be extinguished when the monsoon rains start in upcoming weeks.

You can also download a 250 m resolution KMZ file (1.9 MB) for use with Google Earth.

NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team.