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How people can view religion from space trends in global fires
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A scientific paper indicates global fire patterns vary "based on the day of the week -- with considerably fewer fires globally on Sundays than on other days," according to The Washington Post. Here's how that's linked to religious activity. - photo by Payton Davis
A new scientific paper suggests global wildfires might share a common characteristic with people: They rest on Sundays, according to The Washington Post.

And human behavioral patterns have more to do with it than you'd think, Chris Mooney wrote for the Post.

Our weekly routines are based on religion originally, said Nick Earl, who published the research with two colleagues, to the Post. And you can see that in the weekly cycle of fires.

The Post indicated researchers utilized NASA satellite imagery to study fires across the globe from 2001 to 2013 and detect whether weekly cycles exist which wouldn't "if fires were a purely natural phenomenon."

Luke Roney wrote for Newser they found fires raged less frequently on Sundays in countries with large Christian populations.

Newser noted another religion-related trend.

"In countries that are home to mostly Muslims, where Friday is observed as a day of prayer, there are fewer fires on Fridays," according to Newser's report.

All in all, the researchers indicated the number of fires dropped on Sundays, peaking on Tuesdays with 104 million wildfires globally on Sundays between 2001 and 2013 compared with 113 million burning two days later, Newser reported.

Ryan Maye Handy wrote for The Gazette the link between climate and society stands out among the paper's findings.

"Our results show that weekly cycles in active fires are highly pronounced for many parts of the world, and these cycles are strongly influenced by the working week and particularly the days of rest linked to religion," The Gazette quoted from the researchers' paper.

The Gazette reported the bottom line: People are less likely to light fires on their days off.

Limits in the study such as data on a few countries proving statistically insignificant indicated there might be limits to "inferences that can be made from it," according to the Post.

However, the Post did note the unique "global picture."

"The most striking result, though, remains the attribution of fire patterns, at least in part, to culture and religion," the Post's report read. "Asked if this means we can see human religion from space, Earl put it like this: 'I never actually thought of it like that before. You kind of are.'"