Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
Hundreds of fires were smoking across central Africa on May 5, 2004, and were detected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite during its early afternoon overpass of the region. Most of the fires started during the day— MODIS on the Terra satellite detected far fewer fires in its morning overpass. The fires (marked in red) are scattered across the Democratic Republic of Congo (top) southeast of the Kasai River (upper left) and the northern part of Angola (bottom left).
The widespread nature of the fires and the time of year suggests that these fires are being set intentionally for agricultural purposes. Though not necessarily hazardous, such large-scale burning can have a strong impact on weather, climate, human health, and natural resources.
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