Fires and smoke across Indochina
Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
Across Southeast Asia, the biomass burning season is in high gear in mid-March 2004. This is the time of year for agricultural burning—clearing farmland and renewing farmland and rangeland to prepare for the coming spring growing season. In this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from March 15, 2004, scores of fires were detected by the sensor during a Terra satellite overpass, and they are marked with red dots. A thick blanket of blue-gray smoke hangs over the right half of the image, shrouding Cambodia (bottom right), Thailand, (to the northwest), Laos (northeast of Thailand), and parts of southern China (top right) and Myanmar (to the west).
The widespread nature of the fires suggests that these fires are being set intentionally 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.