Tracking wildfires from ignition to aftereffects
Wildfires are unplanned and uncontrolled fires that spread rapidly. They can be disastrous to anything in their path. And yet, fire is an essential process for many ecosystems.
The Wildfires program area uses Earth observations to help communities manage the impacts of fires. The program provides applications and tools to arm decision makers with the information they need to act.
The Wildfires program area collaborates with decision makers, providing them with applications and tools based on NASA’s wealth of Earth observations. The goal is so they can help communities manage the impacts of fire. It is also part of a network of collaborators working to reduce wildfire risks before, during and after events.
Wildfire management extends beyond putting out flames. The full cycle includes mitigating risks pre-fire and managing effects post-fire. The Wildfires program helps with the entire end to end cycle.
before fire outbreak
Before the first flames of a wildfire ignite, NASA's Earth-observing satellites are watching. Soil moisture, vegetation maps and more provide insights on fire-prone areas. Understanding the risk of fire in a given area helps decision makers prepare for when a fire occurs.
What begins as a spark can cover thousands of acres of land in flames within hours. Wildfires are often too big to assess with the human eye alone — that's where Earth data comes in. Near-real-time information gives fire response organizations situational awareness that helps them act fast. The Wildfire program area provides information on fires' effects on communities, transportation, land, water and air quality.
Even once a fire's flames are smoldering, there is still work to do. Wildfires impact more than the forests and communities they burn through. Burned areas are prone to floods, landslides and poor water quality. Earth observations can identify the areas most at risk, allowing decision makers to support recovery and build future resilience.