Fires in Northwest India

Firesin India

1 November 2005

On the plains at the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains in northwestern India, scores of agricultural fires were burning on 30 October 2005. Shown in this image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, the fires (marked in red) are spreading smoke to the southeast along the base of the mountains.

31 October 2005
15:15 hrs UTC
(Image courtesy MODIS)

The fires are concentrated in the states of Punjab (closest to Pakistan, at left) and Haryana (to the southeast), two of India’s agricultural powerhouses. The state of Punjab occupies less than 2 percent of the area of the country, and yet it produces about two-thirds of the food grains in India. Wheat and rice are the two most commonly grown food crops. Farmers use fire to clear fields and get them ready for new plantings. The air quality in the region is often influenced by fires, dust storms, and urban pollution. The high-resolution image provided above has a spatial resolution of 500 meters per pixel.

(Source: Earth Observatory)

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