Last update: October 17th, 2019 at 9:00 am
On January 20, 2016, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite flew over Central South America and captured this true-color image of fires burning across the region.
The two largest clusters of fires, which are marked by red hotspots, are found in Paraguay (north) and agricultural regions of Argentina (south). At higher resolutions it can be seen that a high number of fires are found in or near rectangular-shaped areas or near forest edge. The rectangular shapes are areas humans have shaped, usually for cropland or pastureland. The time of year, the location, and the number of fires suggest that these fires are agricultural in origin, and have been deliberately set to manage crops or pasture.