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Smoke from Agricultural Fires in West Africa – April 4th, 2013

9.2N 9.1W

April 4th, 2013 Category: Fires, Image of the day

West Africa – April 2nd, 2013

While sun glint highlights rivers along the coast of Guinea and Sierra Leone, fires furthern inland in West Africa create a haze that covers much of the region. Many of the fires have been active since late March, and are clustered in the green lands of Sierra Leone, while others dot the landscape of Guinea and Liberia. A few blazes are present in southwest Mali and Côte d’Ivoire, as well.

While the source of these fires cannot be discerned in the satellite imagery, this pattern at this time of year in this region is typical of agricultural fires. Farmers deliberately set such blazes in order to clear land, bring nutrients into the soil, prepare fields for planting, and renew pastureland. The smoke from the fires, however, create air pollution, which can cause health problems both in humans and livestock both close to, and far from, the source.

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