On December 11, 2006, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of scores of fires burning across the eastern part of North Africa’s Sahel region (topmost part of the image) and the more humid savannas to the south. Places where MODIS detected actively burning fire are marked in red. Smoke spreads southwest, leaving a haze over southern Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The widespread nature of the fires and the time of year indicate that most of them are being set intentionally for agricultural purposes. Though it is not necessarily immediately hazardous, such large-scale burning can have a strong impact on weather, climate, human health, and natural resources.
The large image provided above has a spatial resolution (level of detail) of 500 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response Team provides twice-daily images of North Africa in additional resolutions via a clickable map.
Each year, thousands of fires dot the Sahel and savannas of northern Africa during the agricultural burning season. These satellite images captured between November 2006 and January 2007 show widespread fires across the continent.