GFMC: Savanna Fires in West Africa
Bush and Savanna Fires in West Africa
18 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 16/17 February 2002
are showing fires burning in Central- and West Africa. For details see:
and image search support at:
The TOMS Global Aerosol Hot Spots Page provides screened close-ups of regions with active fires and smoke emissions, displayed in the following table.
6 February 2002 7 February 2002 8 February 2002 9 February 2002 10 February 2002 11 February 2002 12 February 2002 13 February 2002 14 February 2002
Smoke over West Africa.
(Source: TOMS Global Aerosol Hot Spots Page)
For further information see: