Fires in Western Africa
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Fires in Western Africa

April 24, 2013
In the savannas of West Africa, hundreds of fires were detected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on December 14, 2005. In this part of Africa, people set fires for a variety of purposes, for example, to stimulate new growth of pasture vegetation and to hunt wild game. Although intentional burning of the savannas has long been part of the region’s pastoral and agricultural cultures, the fires are not without hazard. If they burn too hot, they can damage the soil and contribute to erosion and desertification, and they create air pollution, which can linger over the savannas for weeks at a time during the dry season. Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

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