Fires in Northern India
Multiple fires burned in northern India near the Pakistan border in early October, 2011, as the end of the monsoon season brought drier conditions that prompted farmers in the region to begin to clear land for the dry season crops. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on October 15, 2011 as it passed overhead.
Multiple red dots mark “hot spots,” areas where MODIS has detected unusually high surface temperatures. Along with the gray smoke, the high temperatures indicate actively burning fires. The smoke plumes blow towards the southeast, tracing a path that parallels the southern face of the Himalaya.
The clusters of fire are located primarily in state of Punjab, which produces about two-thirds of the grain grown in India. The snow-capped Himalaya Mountains are the source of many rivers and streams which bring water to the area and allowing the growth of vegetation, making the fields green and creating rich agricultural land. In contrast, land which lies further away from the mountains are more arid and less favorable for vegetative growth. These drier areas appear tan in this image.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Jeff Schmaltz