Smoke from widespread fires in tropical Mexico and Central America appears to be drifting over the U.S. Gulf States. In 1998 similar circumstances resulted in air-quality warnings being issued in several U.S. states, including Texas and Louisiana.
The top image shows smoke and fires (red pixels) observed by the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite. Possibly hundreds of small fires are scattered across Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The lower image, acquired by the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS), shows smoke from these fires carried by the prevailing winds across the Gulf of Mexico and over the United States.
The burning across the Mexican and Central American landscape throughout April has continued into May. On May 22, 2002, there were still scores of fires burning in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico.