Last update: November 14th, 2019 at 11:00 am
Fires continued to burn across Mexico in the opening days of April 2016. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on April 1 as it passed over the region.
Each red hotspot marks an area where the thermal detectors on the MODIS instrument detected high temperatures. When accompanied by smoke, as in most in this image, such hotspots are diagnostic for actively burning fires. The widespread nature of the fires and time of year suggest that these are agricultural fires. Such fires, which are deliberately ignited and controlled, are set for a variety of purposes including clearing ground for new crops, clearing the stubble and waste from old crops to prepare the ground for planting again, and for renewing pastureland.
Wildfires have also been reported in this region, so it is reasonable to assume that some of these fires are burning out of control. Given the higher temperatures and dry conditions, wildfire risk is increased at this time of year. Wildfires may start either through natural means – typically lightning strike – or from human activity. Agricultural fires may also slip out of control, particularly in windy, warm, and dry conditions, and become wildfires.