The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the western part of Africa on April 20, 2013 and captured many areas of agricultural fires and smoke plumes in several countries including Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau. Fire activity across the region appears to have somewhat diminished since NASAís Aqua satellite passed over the area on March 30. Smoke and haze in the region, however, appear to have increased.
Agricultural fires are set early in springtime with the intention of using the flames to burn last seasonís waste, to prepare cropland for planting, to turn forested/brush areas into cropland, and to prepare pastures for grazing. As farmers begin to plant the new crop, fire-setting for agricultural purposes decreases.
The MODIS image captured on March 30 can be viewed at: http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/individual.php?db_date=2013-04-13