Fires in Central Africa. Across a broad area of west-central Africa, hundreds, probably thousands of fires were burning on June 16, 2004, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’ Aqua satellite captured this image. Pixels in which fires were detected are marked with yellow dots. The scene shows parts of Democratic Republic of Congo (roughly top third of image), Angola (middle), and Botswana (bottom).
The widespread nature of the fires, their location, and the time of year suggest these are agricultural fires being used to clear and renew pasture or farmland. While they are not necessarily immediately hazardous, such fires can have a strong impact on weather, climate, human health, and natural resources. Central Africa is a subregion of the African continent comprising various countries according to different definitions. Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, and São Tomé and Príncipe are members of the Economic Community of Central African States. Six of those states are also members of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa and share a common currency, the Central African CFA franc.
Credit: Image by Jesse Allen, based on data from the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.