Fires in Central Africa

Fires in Central Africa
  • Credit:

    Jeff Schmaltz

Thousands of fires in Central Africa cover the land like a swarm of insects. They send tiny plumes of grey-blue smoke into the atmosphere creating a collective haze over the region that can have a strong impact on the weather, climate, human health, and natural resources. The fires are likely intentionally-set agricultural fires (used for pasture renewal and clearing, for example), though if not properly controlled they can quickly cause a lot of harm.

At upper right, Lake Tanganyika straddles the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the left and Tanzania on the right. South of the lake, Zambia stretches to the south and west. Lake Mweru is west of the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika, and is also on the border between Zambia and the DRC. Due south of both is Lake Bangweulu and its swamps, while Lake Kariba is at the bottom of the image on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. At lower left, the Zambezi River and surrounding lands exhibit many fewer fires.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    June 16, 2005
  • Visualization Date:

    January 5, 2005
  • Sensor(s):

    Aqua - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration