GFMC: Savanna Fires in West Africa

Bush and Savanna Fires in West Africa

1 February 2002

Modis Land Rapid Response System

The Modis Land Rapid Response System detected Vegetation Fires in the Sahel Zone, Central West Africa and West Africa. At this time of the year the ocurrence of Savanna Fires and land use fires in this region of Africa is quite usual.
Burning of bush and grass in savanna occurs either spontaneously by lightning or often by man for agricultural purposes (e.g., to facilitate the growth of new grass for livestock) and for hunting. Bushfires are more extensive in the savanna where a number of factors are responsible for the frequency and extensiveness of the fires. The grasslands, by their geographic locations, have a prolonged dry period which extends from October-April which results in a more thorough drying up of vegetation and soils. The intensity of the sun is generally felt with sparse vegetation. Wind speed is generally high. The importance of grazing is particularly significant in this region. Therefore the need for fresh green grass leads to the tendency of herders to burn off dry and undesirable vegetation (grasses) and to promote the growth of pasture.

Fig.3. This image was acquired by the Moderate-resolution
Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on 31 January 2002
are showing fires burning in West Africa. For details see:
and image search support at:

For further information see:

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