In southern Africa, the annual burning season dotted the savannas surrounding Lake Tanganyika with hundreds of actively burning fires (marked in red) on June 11, 2005. This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite shows fires in Democratic Republic of Congo (west of the lake), Tanzania (east of the lake), and northern Zambia (south of the lake).
The widespread nature of the fires and the time of year suggest that people are intentionally setting most, if not all, of these fires for agricultural purposes like pasture renewal and crop stubble clearing. Though not necessarily immediately hazardous, such large-scale burning can have a strong impact on weather, climate, human health, and natural resources.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained from the MODIS Rapid Response team.
Southern Africa's annual agricultural burning season got underway in May 2005 and was still going strongly in July. Fires speckled the landscape across Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Zambia, Mozambique, and Tanzania.