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Fires in Central Africa and Eastern Sahel
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Fires in Central Africa and Eastern Sahel

April 10, 2013
In central Africa, south of Lake Chad, hundreds of fires were burning on December 11, 2004. In this image, captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, locations where the sensor detected actively burning fires are marked in red. A combination of MODIS’ observations of visible and infrared wavelengths of reflected energy creates the underlying “false-color” image, in which vegetation appears bright green, water appears deep blue, ice-containing clouds appear pale blue, and burned areas appear reddish brown. The paler, pinkish browns and tans are naturally bare soil or areas of extremely low vegetation. The large area at the top of the image is part of the southern Sahara Desert. This area has been burning off and on for more than a month; at times the sky has been much smokier than it is in this scene. Credit: NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained from the MODIS Rapid Response team.