NASA image: Farmland fires in Angola

May 30, 2013
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Lynn Jenner

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite detected hundreds of fires burning in Angola on May 24, 2013. The fires are outlined in red. Most of the fires burn in grass or cropland.

The location, widespread nature, and number of fires suggest that these fires were deliberately set to manage land. Farmers often use to return nutrients to the soil and to clear the ground of unwanted plants.

This type of field clearing is the easiest and most cost effective for the farmer. While fire helps enhance crops and grasses for pasture, the fires also produce smoke that degrades air quality.

Of note: about 80 per cent of farmers throughout the country are smallholders. They cultivate very small plots of land, with very low productivity since the civil war ravaged the nation. This is most likely the reason that this type of field clearing is used so extensively.

Explore further: Image: Fires in Nepal

Related Stories

Image: Fires in Nepal

April 15, 2013

Agricultural fires are set all over the world at different times to prepare the soil for the planting of new crops.

NASA image: Fires in eastern Russia

April 30, 2013

Even as the snow begins to retreat in the eastern part of Russia, fires are being set to clear the land for planting. This Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from the Aqua satellite was captured on ...

NASA image: Fires in West Africa

May 2, 2013

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite detected hundreds of fires burning in the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola on May 01, 2013. The fires are outlined in ...

NASA image: Agricultural fires dot Mexico

May 3, 2013

In Guerrero, Oaxaca, Michoacan, Colima, and Jalisco regions (as well as others in the Yucatan Peninsula) of Mexico hundreds of fires were detected by the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite. The location, widespread nature, ...

NASA image: Fires in Eastern Russia

May 3, 2013

Fires in eastern Russia are commonplace at this time of year. Both wildfires and those deliberately set for agricultural purposes are often seen in the Amur region of Russia. This image from the Aqua satellite shows a plethora ...

Recommended for you

Climate ups odds of 'grey swan' superstorms

August 31, 2015

Climate change will boost the odds up to 14-fold for extremely rare, hard-to-predict tropical cyclones for parts of Australia, the United States and Dubai by 2100, researchers said Monday.

Quantifying the impact of volcanic eruptions on climate

August 31, 2015

Large volcanic eruptions inject considerable amounts of sulphur in the stratosphere which, once converted into aerosols, block sun rays and tend to cool the surface of the Earth down for several years. An international team ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.