Global and Close-Up Views of Fires from Space

Global and Close-Up Views of Fires from Space

NASA’s 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 instrument’s regular global coverage, Terra is providing an improved fire-detection capability over previous space-based sensors.

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.

Image courtesy the MODIS Land Team.