NASA image: Fires in Mozambique and Madagascar Sept. 12, 2013

Sep 12, 2013
The location, widespread nature, and number of fires in this satellite image suggest that these fires were deliberately set to manage land. Farmers often use fire to return nutrients to the soil and to clear the ground of unwanted plants. While fire helps enhance crops and grasses for pasture, the fires also produce smoke that degrades air quality. In Mozambique and Madagascar, the growing season runs from the first rains in Oct. - Nov. Thus, the clearing of lands in early Sept. heralds the new growing season. Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner

The location, widespread nature, and number of fires in this satellite image suggest that these fires were deliberately set to manage land. Farmers often use fire to return nutrients to the soil and to clear the ground of unwanted plants. While fire helps enhance crops and grasses for pasture, the fires also produce smoke that degrades air quality. In Mozambique and Madagascar, the growing season runs from the first rains in October – November. Thus, the clearing of lands in early September heralds the new growing season.

Sadly, according to reports in the National Geographic, "Some 90% of the once-green isle of Madagascar has been deforested via a combination of slash and burn agriculture for and doro-tanetry, a less intensive burning used to augment for cattle grazing."

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite detected hundreds of fires burning in Mozambique and Madagascar on September 11, 2013. The fires are outlined in red. Most of the fires burn in grass or cropland, which is tan in this image.

Explore further: A global surge of great earthquakes from 2004-2014 and implications for Cascadia

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA image: Agricultural fires in central Africa

Aug 22, 2013

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite detected hundreds of fires burning in central Africa on August 21, 2013. The fires are outlined in red. Most of the fires ...

NASA image: Fires in West Africa

May 02, 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 ...

NASA image: Farmland fires in Angola

May 30, 2013

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 ...

NASA image: Agricultural fires dot Mexico

May 03, 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, ...

NASA image: Agricultural fires in Africa

Jun 03, 2013

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite detected dozens of fires burning in central Africa on June 03, 2013. The fires are outlined in red. Most of the fires burn ...

NASA image: Agricultural fires in western Mexico

May 31, 2013

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite detected dozens of fires burning in western Mexico on May 30, 2013. The fires are outlined in red.

Recommended for you

The ocean's living carbon pumps

1 hour ago

When we talk about global carbon fixation – "pumping" carbon out of the atmosphere and fixing it into organic molecules by photosynthesis – proper measurement is key to understanding this process. By ...

Understanding oceanic earthquake precursors

4 hours ago

Published on 14 September in Nature Geoscience, a study conducted by researchers from several institutes, including IFREMER (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea), CNRS and IFSTTAR, offers the first theore ...

User comments : 0