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NASAs Terra spacecraft is now providing daily views of fires
around the world. With the high resolution and sensitivity of the
Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the
instruments regular global coverage, Terra is providing
an improved fire-detection capability over previous
The global 5km daily MODIS fire browse product shows active fires
(red dots) superimposed on the MODIS surface reflectance browse product.
The global image, taken on August 23, 2000, shows
fires in South America, southern Africa, and Australia. These regions
experienced an above average burning season in 2000.
Terra scientists plan to contribute the new MODIS global fire product to
the Global Observation of Forest Cover (GOFC) Project, an international
initiative to improve the provision and use of satellite and in
situ data for forest monitoring both for global change research and
natural resource management. Fire information from MODIS will
complement data from other sources.
MODIS is also capable of much higher-resolution imaging of fires, as
seen in this image of
fires in northern Australia taken on October 2, 2000.
The red boxes indicate location of active fires superimposed
over a MODIS image that shows smoke plumes from these fires.
Fires are concentrated in agricultural areas of northwestern Guatemala. Although agricultural fires are not necessarily immediately hazardous, they can have a strong influence on weather, climate, human health, and adjacent natural resources. Each fire season scientists in the tropical forests of northern Guatemala must keep a close eye on agricultural fires to make sure they do not accidentally invade natural areas and preserves that protect archaeological ruins from the Maya civilization.