Several heat signatures are observed over Lao and Thailand by OSEI on 2 March 1999. OSEI states that there is some uncertainty involved in classifying the heat signatures as vegetation fires, since the used NOAA 14 overpass was in the afternoon. Solar heating of the surfaces sometimes causes saturation of the AVHRR sensor in Band 3, this could lead to misinterpretation of the image.
Fig.1. NOAA image of the heat signatues in Lao and Thailand 2 March 1999
(Source: NOAA http://www.osei.noaa.gov/)
The heat signatures in Thailand are accumulated between the citys of Udun Thani and Sakhonnakhon. In this region intensive agriculture is present. The heat signatures are most likely land-use fires (rice paddy burning, shifting cultivation), as well as wildfires burning in the dry deciduous or semi-deciduous forests. The heat signatures in Lao are accumulated in the mountainous area between the towns Mahaxaia and Bannaphao. This region is less developed and it is most likely that the heat signatures origin from shifting cultivation fires, as well as from wildfires.
A detailed current report on vegetation fires in Lao can be viewed in the general analyses and overview section of this web site. Background information on forest fires in Thailand can be found in the IFFN Country Notes. The photo archive provides images from the mainland South East Asian neighbour countries Viet Nam, Myanmar, and Thailand. Fire conditions in Lao and Campuchea are similar to their neighbours.