Fires across western Africa
Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
A swath of red across the countries near the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa demonstrates how widespread the practice of agricultural burning is across central Africa this time of year. The red dots mark the location of active fires detected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite on December 8, 2003. Countries shown are (clockwise from top left) Burkina, Niger, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast. The brown-colored patches that are clustered around the intersection of northern Benin, Niger, and Burkina are a collection of parks and preserves, which have likely preserved the natural savanna vegetation, while the land surrounding the parks has been transformed by agriculture.