Fire Maps of Africa

[Image: NASA’s Earth Observatory points us to this incredible series of images, showing the southward migration of agricultural fires across Africa over the course of 2005: “Season after season,” they explain, “year after year, people set fire to African landscapes to create and maintain farmland and grazing areas. People use fire to keep less desirable plants from invading crop or rangeland, to drive grazing animals away from areas more desirable for farming, to remove crop stubble and return nutrients to the soil, and to convert natural ecosystems to agricultural land. The burning area shifts from north to south over the course of the year, in step with the coming and going of Africa’s rainy and dry seasons.” Of course, if you want to know – or see – more, this page has an eye-popping quantity of global fire maps, spanning no less than six years and offered in three levels of resolution. While you’re at it, then, check out the somewhat less exciting MODIS Active Fire Mapping Program or the so-called Web Fire Mapper. Pyro-cartographers, rejoice].

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