Smoke over Central South America
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Smoke over Central South America

October 6, 2007

Throughout September 2007, and continuing into October, intense fires burned across South America, and the skies were frequently thick with smoke. This image of central South America was captured on October 2, 2007 by the MODIS on the Aqua satellite. The fires are marked by red dots. Running down the left side of the image, the brown Andes Mountain range is easily visible because it is not covered with smoke. The mountains are too high for the smoke to cross over them.

Although naturally occurring fires can occur in the savannas and dry woodlands of southern Bolivia and northern Paraguay, this type of intense, widespread burning is likely the result of human activities. Agricultural fires (for example, fires for brush or crop-residue clearing) can get out of control and spread to surrounding forests and other natural areas.

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