Wildfires in East Timor and Indonesia
This natural-color satellite image shows active fires in the independent sovereign state of East Timor (to the right) and in West Timor, Indonesia (to the left). It was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on September 16, 2012. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red.
These fires could be the result of residents and plantation companies continuing to open plantation areas by burning forests because it is the easiest and cheapest method, according to the JakartaGlobe online news site, but that is not definitive as to the underlying cause of these fires. Apparently, they normally burn peatland where the acid level of the land is unsuitable for planting. The area burned will become fertile if it is burned and the ashes can be used as fertilizer. This explains why people are still burning forests to open land despite many regulations to ban the practice.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Lynn Jenner.