NASA’s Terra satellite captured numerous fires over Honduras, many of which were set intentionally to prepare the land for farming (“Slash and burn farming”).

Credit: NASA

Slash-and-burn agriculture, or fire–fallow cultivation, is a farming method that involves the cutting and burning of plants in a forest or woodland to create a field called a swidden. It is believed that the ash from burning functions as neutralizer of the soil acidity and adjusts nitrogen content.

Honduras was home to several important Mesoamerican cultures, most notably the Maya, before the Spanish Colonization in the sixteenth century. Honduras became independent in 1821 and has since been a republic, although it has consistently endured much social strife and political instability. Honduras is known for its rich natural resources, including minerals, coffee, tropical fruit, and sugar cane, as well as for its growing textiles industry, which serves the international market.

The local scenery on the ground is as follows.

Credit: NHK

Reference: Smoke Hangs Over Honduras (NASA Earth Observatory)
See earthview photo gallery: LiVEARTH