Skip to main content

Consistent, high-accuracy mapping of daily and sub-daily wildfire growth with satellite observations

Year of Publication
Publication Type

Background: Fire research and management applications, such as fire behaviour analysis and emissions modelling, require consistent, highly resolved spatiotemporal information on wildfire growth progression. Aims: We developed a new fire mapping method that uses quality-assured sub-daily active fire/thermal anomaly satellite retrievals (2003–2020 MODIS and 2012–2020 VIIRS data) to develop a high-resolution wildfire growth dataset, including growth areas, perimeters, and cross-referenced fire information from agency reports. Methods: Satellite fire detections were buffered using a historical pixel-to-fire size relationship, then grouped spatiotemporally into individual fire events. Sub-daily and daily growth areas and perimeters were calculated for each fire event. After assembly, fire event characteristics including location, size, and date, were merged with agency records to create a cross-referenced dataset. Key results: Our satellite-based total fire size shows excellent agreement with agency records for MODIS (R2 = 0.95) and VIIRS (R2 = 0.97) in California. VIIRS-based estimates show improvement over MODIS for fires with areas less than 4047 ha (10 000 acres). To our knowledge, this is the finest resolution quality-assured fire growth dataset available. Conclusions and Implications: The novel spatiotemporal resolution and methodological consistency of our dataset can enable advances in fire behaviour and fire weather research and model development efforts, smoke modelling, and near real-time fire monitoring.

C.D. McClure; N.R. Pavlovic; S.M. Huang; M. Chaveste; N. Wang

McClure CD, Pavlovic NR, Huang SM, Chaveste M, Wang N. Consistent, high-accuracy mapping of daily and sub-daily wildfire growth with satellite observations. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 2023 .

Publication Topics