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Fires in Indochina
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Fires in Indochina

April 10, 2013
Fires were burning in a variety of locations and types of vegetation in Southeast Asia when this image was captured on December 21, 2004, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. The majority of the fires in this image are in southern Cambodia. The Mekong River shows up prominently as it flows southward through some of the region’s remaining tropical forests. The Mekong River is to Southeast Asia what the Colorado River is to the U.S. West. Many countries along its path—including China, Laos, Thailand (image left), Cambodia, and Vietnam (image right)—depend on the river for irrigation and drinking water. Also like the Colorado River, increasing demands for water and the dams and other infrastructure needed to supply it disrupt the natural flood cycle on the Mekong. The disruption can create environmental problems that become human problems, such as a decline in fish stocks in places where fish is the major source of protein in people’s diets. Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC