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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

Interactive Map

 North America

 24 hour product

Archived KML products for 6 months

Forest Service Active Fire Mapping Program

Interactive Map

Fire Radiative Power 

Monthly Burn Scar

Satellite Imagery


U.S and Canada

Fire Detections  from 2001

Fire detection and fire radiative power from 2008






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  


Reference Materials: