Satellite instruments detect fires using mid-infrared bands where fires typical emit strongly. Fire products may use data from polar orbiting instruments, geostationary instruments or a combination of both. The advantage of the polar orbiting instruments is their high resolution which allows them to detect smaller and/or less energetic fires than the geostationary instruments. The geostationary instruments have much higher temporal coverage and may observe many fires that the polar orbiting instruments will not see since the overpass is not coincident in time with the fire.
Fire products may rely solely on automated algorithms for fire identification or may supplement procedure with human analysis to remove suspected false positives or to add hotspots.
MODIS can typically detect flaming and smoldering fires 1000 m2 in size but depending on conditions and fire type may detect fires as small as 50 m2. For additional information on fire products from MODIS, including a more complete discussion of minimum fire size detected and factors effecting fire detection please see the excellent LANCE FAQ from NASA’s EOSDIS and scroll down to the “FIRMS” section.
The chart below can be used for quick access to the more widely used fire products.
For a fuller explanation of the features available on each site please see our "Fire and Smoke Product" overview presentation available for download "Reference Materials" section.
Fire and Related Products
|Product name/link||products available||coverage||availability||Data formats||sensors used|
|NOAA Hazard Mapping System||
Daily Fire and Smoke Analysis
24 hour product
Archived KML products for 6 months
|GIS, KML, imagery||MODIS GOES|
|Forest Service Active Fire Mapping Program||
Fire Radiative Power
Monthly Burn Scar
|U.S and Canada||
Fire Detections from 2001
Fire detection and fire radiative power from 2008
|MODIS GOES VIIRS AVHRR|
|WildFire Automated Biomass Burning Algorithm (WF Abba)||Fire Mask Imagery||Global||
Past 24 hours
Historical data upon request
Imagery, Animation loops
GOES East, West and South
|Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS)||
Interactive Fire Map
Active Fire Data
Interactive Map - November 2000 to present
Active map 24, 48, 72 hours
Historical data available on request
|NOAA Storm Prediction Center||Fire Weather Outlooks & Forecasts||U.S. Only||Historical forecasts June 2002 to present||Interactive Maps PDF|
- Fire and Smoke Product Overview - ppt, 11.2 MB: Overview presentation on sources for smoke and fire products.
- NOAA Smoke Products - doc, 1.7 MB: A detailed description of the NOAA smoke product for use with Google Earth.