People are steadily blazing a trail into the undeveloped Amazon. This pair of NASA satellite images reveal the slash-and-burn deforestation by which people clear farm and pasture land out of the jungle. The name describes the process of cutting down the trees and setting fire to what is left, using the fire to return soil-fertilizing nutrients back to the soil from the vegetation.
The scene shows a section of southern Pará state in Brazil, just north of the border with Mato Grosso state on July 29, 2004. Right of image center, the Xingu River flows in from the south, but its obvious course disappears in a large clearing around the expanding airport town of Sao Felix. Left of center, a road cuts up through the forest, its ragged appearance the result of clearing that is occurring on either side. The morning image, captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASAs Terra satellite, shows the surface more clearly than the afternoon image, captured by the MODIS on the Aqua satellite. By afternoon, fire activity (red outlines) had increased, and smoke was beginning to block the view.
Maps with a summary of the occurence of vegetation fires in Brazil and in most of South America are prepared and released by CPTEC/INPE in the Internet soon after the overpasses of the NOAA-series meteorological satellites, whose AVHRR images are used in the detection. Source: http://www.cptec.inpe.br/products/queimadas/
Each red dot in the map shows a pixel with temperatures of some hundred degrees C, normally associated only to active fires. The table on the right side of the map shows the total number of fire pixels dectected by state and by country, with the percentage corresponding to the cloud cover in each region, where the detection of fires was precluded. Geographical coordinateos of all vegetation fires detected in the AVHRR/NOAA images are available at CPTEC/INPE, and are distributed in near-real-time to registered users. Furhter information can be obtained with email@example.com, or in the phone number ++55(12)560-9261.