Marked in red, hundreds of land use fires burn in the fields across Sierra Leone. Most fires in this region are deliberately set for a variety of reasons, including slash and burn agriculture. When a plot of land becomes exhausted, farmers shift cultivation to another plot where they cut the trees and brush at the beginning of the dry season in January and February. Once the dead plant material has dried, they set fire to it. Such fires peak in March and April right before farming season begins.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner with information from Holli Riebeek.