Active Fire

Firecast automatically retrieves active fire data from various sources to generate customized alerts every 30 minutes. NASA’s Land Atmosphere Near Real-time Capability for Earth Observing Systems (LANCE) processes thermal and mid-infrared data from the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) instrument on board NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites to generate a near real-time thermal anomaly product (Giglio et al., 2003). Due to their alternating flight paths, the Aqua and Terra satellites permit four fire observations in a 24-hour period. The MODIS thermal anomalies product indicates one or more active fires within a 1km² area on the ground. The NRT detections of active fires from the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite) sensor are retrieved from LANCE as well. The VIIRS satellite provides two observations in a 24-hour period with a day-time over pass around 13:30. This afternoon overpass, similar to Aqua, coincides with the timing for peak fire activity in the tropics. The VIIRS active fire data provided by AFIS are an experimental data product with a spatial resolution of 375m2, thus potentially detecting smaller fires with higher geolocation accuracy (Schroeder et al., 2014). Near real-time delivery of active fire detections support activities such as active fire suppression, community education and outreach, and policing of illegal activities. Fire detection accuracy is contingent on a number of factors.
Active Fire
Fires in Madagascar on October 19th, 2008.
Images from NASA’s Aqua satellite show detected active fires (in red) and smoke plumes.
© NASA’s MODIS Rapid Response Team

Forest Disturbances

Firecast facilitates users’ access to multiple forest disturbance alerts systems and leverages the unique strengths of optical-based and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)-based alert products for detecting changes in forests. To reduce false positive detections, Firecast’s weekly forest disturbance product increases the alert confidence if multiple systems detect a disturbance in the same area. The integrated forest disturbance product combines existing operation forest disturbance alert products available for the Amazon region. These include GLAD alerts, JJ-FAST alerts (data type: raster), and RADD alerts. Others alert products will be integrated when they become available. The current resolution of the forest disturbance alerts is 30 m to accommodate the range of resolution of the input products (10-50m). The Firecast forest disturbance confidence is defined as following: Very low: single-source detection with low confidence; Low: single source detection with high confidence. Medium: multiple source detection with mixed confidence. High: multiple source detection with high confidence. ‘Multiple sources detection’ refer to two or more forest disturbance products alerting to a disturbance within a 30-m area.

Fire Season Severity

The fire season severity forecasts are modeled from the empirical relationship between sea surface temperatures (SST) in the Atlantic and Pacific and fire incidences across South America (Chen et al. 2011). These forecasts indicate the expected intensity of fire activity due to climatic conditions during the upcoming 2013 dry season. Fire Season Severity Alerts for the upcoming dry season (typically July-October) are provided by NASA and updated monthly from November through June. Knowing the potential fire season severity in advance of the dry season is extremely useful for fire management and prevention, protected areas management, and sustainable land use planning. For more information about these forecasts please see NASA’s web pages.
Fire Season Severity
The radial dial above shows the 2013 Fire Season Severity forecast for Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The model forecasts are considerably higher than the conditions in 2011 and 2012.