Contact: Rob Gutro
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Caption: The location, widespread nature, and number of fires in this satellite image suggest that these fires were deliberately set to manage land. Farmers often use fire to return nutrients to the soil and to clear the ground of unwanted plants. While fire helps enhance crops and grasses for pasture, the fires also produce smoke that degrades air quality. In Mozambique and Madagascar, the growing season runs from the first rains in Oct. - Nov. Thus, the clearing of lands in early Sept. heralds the new growing season.
Credit: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner
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Related news release: Fires in Mozambique and Madagascar Sept. 12, 2013