Widespread fires continued throughout Southeast Asia in mid-April 2006. This image of the area was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on April 11, 2006. Locations where MODIS detected actively burning fires are marked in red. Blue-gray smoke hangs over much of the area, filling the topography. Many of these fires are probably agricultural in nature, but some may be accidental as well. This time of year is part of the area’s dry season; fire is used to clear fields of ground cover and residual crops at or about this time of year, as well as to add nutrients to the soil in preparation for planting before the rainy season begins. Although the fires are not necessarily immediately hazardous to lives and property, such widespread burning can have a strong impact on weather, climate, human health, and natural resources. The image shows (clockwise from upper left) India, Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.
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