Fires in Angola and Democratic Republic of the Congo
Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
Hundreds of fires cover the lands of Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in this true-color MODIS image taken June 24, 2002. The fires, represented by red pixels, are most likely the result of slash-and-burn agriculture, which is common throughout the world at this time of year. Smoke and haze from the fires can be seen in the low resolution of this image, and is most pronounced at the top right area. Higher resolutions of the image show the smoke plumes in greater detail.The slash-and-burn technique allow farmers to clear large amounts of land for their crops, but in return requires them to move their crops to new fields every couple of years because the soil quality is poor. This technique of farming is usually associated with environmental destruction, but a number of studies have shown that the technique can be environmentally sound in sparsely populated areas.