Last update: January 18th, 2021 at 1:00 pm
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of fires were burning in Central Africa when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image on June 18, 2004. The fires, marked in red, were probably deliberately started by farmers clearing land for agriculture. While not intrinsically dangerous, the fires are clogging the air with wide-spread haze. The large dark green area in the lower left corner of the image was nearly completely covered by the Zambezi River for several months earlier in the year. From the numerous fires around the river, it appears that farmers are beginning to reclaim the land. The countries shown in this image include, from the top left corner going clockwise, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola. The bright white feature in the lower left corner is the Etosha Pan, a large salt pan in Namibia.
Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC