Fires in South America

Fires in Eastern Brazil

06 December 2004


On 05 December 2004, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite captured the following image of eastern Brazil.

Aqua satellite 16:05 UTC

It’s surprising to many people that the Amazon Rainforest even has a dry season, but in fact there are places that go months each year with little or no rain. In this part of the Amazon, the rainy season won’t get fully underway until January.

Before widespread human settlement and agricultural development in and around the Amazon, forest fires were extremely rare: an area might have experienced fire once every few centuries. The forest survives the dry season by tapping water many meters down in the soil, and there were few natural triggers for fires becuase lightning is almost always accompanied by rain. Today, the forests are under pressure from both intentional and accidental fires caused by humans. For more about how fire is changing the Amazon Rainforest, please read the feature story “From Forest to Field.”

Source: Earth Observatory

For additional information on the Region see Country Archive for:

South America

As well as the Regional South America Wildland Fire Network


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