The annual southern Africa burning season is fully underway in late August 2005. Each year, farmers and herders set fire to fields and grasslands to create soil-fertilizing ash, stop woody shrubs from encroaching on grasslands, and stimulate new plant growth. The continent is on fire from coast to coast for several months a year.
AQUA 22 August 2005 12:20 hrs UTC (Image courtesy MODIS) Click on scene for a 500m resolution
This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite shows the immense spatial scale of the seasonal burning in Southern Africa. Thousands of active fires were detected by MODIS across Angola (left), Democratic Republic of Congo (top), and Zambia (right); their locations are marked with red dots. Though these fires are not necessarily immediately hazardous, such large-scale burning can have a strong impact on weather, climate, human health, and natural resources.