GFMC: Remote Sensing Links

GFMC Links:
Remote Sensing of Vegetation Fires

Thefollowing list of the most important remote sensing links is listed inalphabetical order.
GFMC readers are encouraged to provide update information on new links to the GFMC.
Please see also additional links at the daily update web page of the GFMC

The homepage of the National Aerial Fire protection Branch “Avialesookhrana” of the Federal Forest Service of Russia provides up to date NOAA images for the whole territory of the Russian Federation.


The BIRD mission is a milestone on the way to establish a small satellite programme within the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR) and for the development of a new generation of imaging infrared sensors for Earth remote sensing objectives, which can be used for planetary exploration, too. The BIRD small satellite mission shall demonstrate the scientific and technological value and the technical and programmatic feasibility of the combination of ambitious science and new, not yet space-proofed advanced technologies with a small satellite mission conception under low-budget constraints. Main scientific objectives of the BIRD mission are: detection and identification of high-temperature events caused by vegetation fires, volcanic activities, and industrial hazards, burning oil wells, etc.
BIRD has been launched successfully on 22 October 2001. 


Canada Center for Remote Sensing
The Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Natural Resources Canada, is responsible for: receiving, processing, and archiving Earth observation data; coordinating a national research programme, which develops and applies remote sensing technology to sustainable development and environmental protection; developing geospatial information applications; and providing electronic access to spatial databases. As part of national and international teams, CCRS scientists are developing remote sensing methods that monitor, model, and map natural hazards quickly and reliably, so as to diminish possible threats to human safety and infrastructure. A special section on forest fires is found at:


Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing, and Processing, Singapore (CRISP)
CRISP offers a database with SPOT, ERS and Radarsat Images of the South East Asian region covering the forest fire episode of 1997/98. It also provides a special feature on forest fires and haze in South East Asia.


Colorado State University: The Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Team Advanced Meteorological Satellite Demonstration and Interpretation System (RAMSDIS)
The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, CIRA was established in 1980 to increase the effectiveness of atmospheric research in areas of mutual interest between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Colorado State University and other groups. Current GOES images of Brazil Fires using an Experimental Fire Product are provided by automatic reloading every 5 minutes.


CSIRO Sentinel Fire Mapping
The Sentinel Fire Mapping website is an internet-based mapping tool designed to provide timely fire location data to emergency service managers across Australia. The mapping system allows users to identify fire locations that pose a potential risk to communities and property. It can be accessed using a standard web.


The project “Dynamique et Chimie Atmosphérique en Forêt Equatoriale” (DECAFE), in conjunction with the EXPRESSO experiment, investigates atmospheric constituents emitted from the soils and vegetation of natural or disturbed ecosystems (e.g., HC, CH4, NOx) or from savanna fires (e.g., NO2, HC, CO) which are mainly of anthropogenic origin.


Disaster Management Support Group (DMSG)

During its five year lifetime, the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Ad hoc Disaster Management Support Group (DMSG) supported natural and technological disaster management on a worldwide basis by fostering improved utilization of existing and planned Earth Observation (EO) satellite data. The Fire Hazard Team Report is available at:


DLR Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information (Germany)
The Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information (Zentrum für satellitengestützte KrisenInformation – ZKI) – Emergency Mapping & Disaster Monitoring – of the Applied Remote Sensing Cluster (CAF) of DLR is engaged in the acquisition, analysis and provision of satellite based information products on natural disasters, for humanitarian relief actions as well as in the context of civil security.


The ECOFORCE (ECOFORCA – a Brazilian NGO) and the EMBRAPA’s Núcleo de Monitoramento Ambiental-NMA (Environmental Monitoring Center) provide fire maps on the base NOAA AVHRR data processed in Cachoeira Paulista and sent by the National Institute of Spatial Researches , via Internet, to NMA and to ECOFORCE. The weekly maps are geocoded and are searchable by week and region.


This web site of the ESA-ESRIN provides access to the ATSR World Fire Atlas, a product of the ATSR sensor. Hot spots events recorded at night-time by the thermal sensors are provided globally for the period 1995-present.


Spain: University of Alcalá


European Space Agency: Envisat

In March 2002, the European Space Agency launched Envisat, an advanced polar-orbiting Earth observation satellite which provides measurements of the atmosphere, ocean, land, and ice. The Envisat satellite has an ambitious and innovative payload that will ensure the continuity of the data measurements of the ESA ERS satellites. Envisat data supports earth science research and allows monitoring of the evolution of environmental and climatic changes. Furthermore, the data will facilitate the development of operational and commercial applications. Recent examples of remote sensing of vegetation fires:

Portugal 2003:

Indonesia 2003:


FireM3  Fire Monitoring, Mapping, and Modelling Project
The operational forest fire monitoring website for Canada is providing a historic (since 1994) and current view of all the forest fires in Canada. This website represents the output of the Fire Monitoring, Mapping, and Modelling (FireM3) project, a collaboration of the Canadian Forest Service and the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing. A quick overview of the latest (current) fire situation (last update: <24h old) and all previous days, including the current season summary, can be accessed. An Internet Map Server, which is like a simple GIS running on the host computer, allows you to zoom in on any fire or other area of interest and view the image and map data at full (1km) resolution. You can also click on any fire and get information about that fire.


FOCUS – Infrared Sensor System on the International Space Station (ISS)
FOCUS is an intelligent infrared sensor system for the detection of High Temperature Events (HTEs), such as vegetation fires or volcanoes. FOCUS is scheduled to be integrated on the International Space Station (ISS) during its early utilisation phase (target launch is UF3, see NASA ISS assembly schedule). FOCUS is a scientific and technological demonstrator / precursor of an operational fire observation system and is proposed to be implemented on the externally mounted European payloads of the International Space Station (ISS). The Main Objectives of the FOCUS Mission are: (1) Reliable autonomous on-board detection and analysis of High Temperature Events (HTE); (2) Generation of new IR data products and Assessment of ecological consequences of HTE, and (3) Near real-time HTE-cluster data geo-referencing and transmission to ground terminals.


Forest Fire Alert System
The system presented in these pages has been developed under ESA contract in preparation of the activity on “Promotion of Space Technologies for supporting the Management of Natural Disasters”. Its objective is to operationally send alerts in case of forest fires or irregular hot events that will occur in Finland and its neighbouring countries and regions. The data used for detecting forest fires are AVHRR-data from NOAA-12, NOAA-14, and NOAA 15 satellites and also ATSR-2 data from ERS 2 satellite. The instrument data are collected, processed and evaluated automatically. In case of detected hot events an alarm will be generated and sent to the local fire dispatching centre of the region where the event is localised. The system is currently installed in the Finnish Meteorological Institute and a prototype version of it using AVHRR data has been successfully working since 1993.


Forest Fires INFOREST action
The Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) is part of the Directorate General Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. The INFOREST action is managed by the Land Management Unit, and aims to demonstrate the ways in which existing EU knowlege of Remote Sensing can be used by Planners and Civil Protection bodies to help mitigate the effects of Forest Fires. The activities will develop technologies and provide tools to partner organisations within Europe. The INFOREST action provides direct support to the Forest Focus EC regulation, namely through the European Forest Fire Information System. This system includes fire risk assessment and post-fire evaluation (burnt area mapping and fire damage assessment). New modules on vegetation regeneration after forest fires, post-fire risk zoning, and atmospheric emissions, are currently being developed.


Forest Fire Prevention Management Project 2 in Indonesia
The Ministry of Forest and Estate Crops in Indonesia and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) began a technical cooperation program in the field of forest fire prevention as “Forest Fire Prevention Management Project (FFPMP)” in 1996 and ended in 2001. FFPMP has contributed the development of technologies for early warning and detection, improvement of participants of forest fire prevention and management, and training for initial fire suppression. The second phase FFPMP II started 15 April 2001 and it is expected to be completed in 2006. For the wide extension and applicability of project’s outcome, four national parks are selected as field sites, which have various features of their topography and biology. The national parks are Bukit Tiga Puluh, Berbak, Way Kambas in Sumatra, and Gunung Palung in Kalimatan. FFPMP II supports participatory forest fire suppression, initial forest fire suppression and early warning and detection, and extension and public relation. The website includes, among other, a web page with daily and monthly maps of fire locations in Indonesia depicted by NOAA AVHRR and cloud maps derived from the geostationary satellite HIMAWARI. For direct access to this fire monitoring web page see:


FUEGO is a Space based system for forest fire fighting support. FUEGO is a system to provide early fire outbreak detection and high resolution fire-line monitoring by means of a mini-satellite constellation. FUEGO is a user oriented programme which is being developed with the support of the IV Framework Programme ‘Environment and Climate’ of the European Commission, through ist General Directorate XII. FUEGO is structured in two phases. Phase I has been completed, demonstrating system feasibility and providing the definition of the payload. The FUEGO 2 Project is now started and includes the detailed payload design and the construction of an engineering prototype for validation. A hardware simulator will be used to obtain additional fire data. The FUEGO Programme aims at the deployment of an operational satellite constellation in 2004.


Global Fire Monitoring Homepage of the NASA/NOAA
The Global Fire Monitoring homepage of the NASA/NOAA  provides an introduction to different satellite systems and their capabilities to depict fire from space. Some films and animations visulaize the time-space relationships of vegetation fires. Operation of the Global Fire Monitoring site, will cease effective December 1, 1999.


Global Observation of Forest Cover/Global Observation of Landcover Dynamics (GOFC/GOLD) – Fire Mapping and Monitoring

GOFC/GOLD (Global Observation of Forest Cover/Global Observation of Landcover Dynamics) is a project of the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) programme, which is sponsored by the Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS). The main goal of GOFC/GOLD is to provide a forum for international information exchange, observation and data coordination, and a framework for establishing the necessary long-term monitoring systems. The GOFC/GOLD-Fire Mapping and Monitoring Theme is aimed at refining and articulating the international observation requirements and making the best possible use of fire products from the existing and future satellite observing systems, for fire management, policy decision-making and global change research. Additional website of the GOFC-Fire Implementation Team (co-chaired by the GFMC) see:




Global Environment Monitoring Unit
The GEM Unit (former Global Vegetation Monitoring Unit ) is among Europe’s main players in advancing Earth observation technologies and methodologies, using remote sensing for the assessment of terrestrial and marine ecosystem condition and to monitor anthropogenic actions – such as deforestation and determine their impact on the global environment.
One of the three thematic groups within GEM is TEM – Terrestrial ecosystem monitoring in EU development-assistance priority regions. TEM  provides a long-term picture of the conditions in ecosystems identified according to the priorities of EU aid, development and international environmental policies, including disturbance by fire:  


Indonesia: East Kalimantan Fire Management Agency

The East Kalimantan Fire Management Agency was established as an outcome of the Integrated Forest Fire Management (IFFM) project which was a 10-years bilateral development project in the province of East Kalimantan, Indonesia, sponsored by Germany and backstopped by the GFMC between 1994 and 2004. The project developed a valuable on-site source for forest fires in Indonesia, including NOAA AVHRR derived maps displaying active wildfires and land-use fires burning in East Kalimantan. In addition fire-danger rating for the project area was published on a regular basis and provided accurate and precise information for East Kalimantan and adjoining Indonesian provinces on Borneo island.


Integrated Forest Fire Management Project (IFFM) (Indonesian-German Technical Cooperation)
The Integrated Forest Fire Management (IFFM) project was a 10-years bilateral development project in the province of East Kalimantan, Indonesia, sponsored by Germany and backstopped by the GFMC between 1994 and 2004. The project developed a valuable on-site source for forest fires in Indonesia, including NOAA AVHRR derived maps displaying active wildfires and land-use fires burning in East Kalimantan. In addition fire-danger rating for the project area was published on a regular basis and provided accurate and precise information for East Kalimantan and adjoining Indonesian provinces on Borneo island. The project transited to the East Kalimantan Fire Management Agency:


MEGAFiReS Project
The general goal of this project was to establish an integrated framework to analyse satellite remote sensing images for operational management of large wildland fires in Mediterranean countries. The project tried to improve cartographic and statistical information which is critical to the three phases of fire management: pre-fire planning (fire risk), fire suppression (detection and fighting) and post-fire evaluation (fire effects). All these aspects were considered with a global Mediterranean perspective.


The “MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer” (MODIS) fire team is developing the scientific basis for remote sensing of fires and fire products (CO, CO2, aerosols) using MODIS. Each MODIS will have 3.9 µm and 11µm channels with high saturation (450 K and 400K respectively) specially designed for fire monitoring. MODIS will have almost twice daily coverage. Its data will be used to detect fires, to estimate the rate of emission of radiative energy from the fire, and to estimate the fraction of biomass burned in the smouldering phase. The MODIS fire and thermal anomalies products contain information unique to understanding the timing and spatial distribution of fires and characteristics such as the energy emitted from the fire and is available for both day and night periods. Temporal composites include an eight-day and monthly day and night fire occurrence aggregation and a summary of the number of fires in classes related to the strength of the fire. MODIS Fire web page:


Natural Resources Institute (NRI) of the University of Greenwich
One area of activities of NRI is in environmental sciences, including remote sensing, geographical information systems, forecasting systems, ecological monitoring and environmental impact and risk assessments. The Fire Group of the NRI works with resource managers in a number of developing countries to improving integrated fire management. Satellite data are integrated with local information on vegetation, various boundaries, infrastructure, etc., into fire information system to enable resource managers to assess fire risk, fire activity and fire impacts. They undertake adaptive research and develop local capabilities in building customised fire products appropriate to local management. The Fire Group contributes to routine fire information produced and analysed in Namibia, Botswana, Indonesia and Nicaragua.


NASA: Fire information derived from TRMM and VIRS measurements
These fire data provided on this NASA website are derived from Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Visible and Infrared Scanner (VIRS) measurements. They show the number of 4.4 square kilometer pixels in each half-degree grid cell (each cell is 2500 square kilometers at the equator) that are hot enough to contain a large fire. These data, summarized for each month, are currently being used to monitor natural and human-made fires in the Tropical and Sub-tropical zones (+/- 40° from the equator). The data will be updated every month throughout TRMM’s life, which is currently expected to extend through mid-2004. Fire data from earlier in TRMM’s mission (January 1998–July 1999) will be available in early 2000.)


NOAA Defense Meteorological Satellite Program

The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) is a Department of Defense (DoD) program run by the Air Force Space and Missle Systems Center (SMC). The DMSP designs, builds, launches, and maintains satellites monitoring the meteorological, oceanographic, and solar-terrestrial physics environments.


Nordic Weather Radar Network

The Finnish Meteorological Institute provides during the fire season a daily fire map containing the automatic detected candidates of wild fires over Finland and its neighbouring regions. Note: Since this is the automatically generated map of fires, it might contain also other irregular hot events or detection errors.


Operational Significant Event Imagery (OSEI)
The Operational Significant Event Imagery team produces high-resolution, detailed imagery of significant environmental events which are visible in remotely-sensed data available at the NOAA Science Center in Suitland, Maryland.


RADARSAT International (RSI)

RADARSAT International (RSI) was formed in 1989, and over the years has established itself as a reputable provider of information solutions based on satellite-derived data. By combining information obtained from Earth observation (EO) satellites with other data sources such as climate/field data, baseline geographic information, and Internet-based information, RSI has successfully responded to the changing business needs of the spatial data community. The service offerings include: Information delivery via the Internet, rapid, in-house data, processing, highly responsive satellite programming, 24-hour emergency support, including wildland fire emergencies.


Red Latinoamericana de Teledetección e Incendios Forestales (RedLaTIF)

La Red Latinoamericana de Teledetección e Incendios Forestales (RedLaTIF) es una red regional que pretende unir esfuerzos en el campo de la observación y gestión de los incendios forestales en todos los países latinoamericanos. Esta Red está estrechamente unida al programa GOFC/GOLD-Fire (Global Observations of Forest and Land Cover Dynamics), la cual intenta contribuir en cumplir los objetivos de dicho programa.


Remote Sensing Solutions (Germany)
RSS Remote Sensing Solutions GmbH specializes in the integrated use of remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and provides application oriented services in agriculture, forestry, urban planning, nature conservation and disaster monitoring. For information on remote sensing of fire click on “Projects” and then on “Disaster Management”. A detailed analysis of Indonesian fires are provided in a paper on “ESA-NASDA Cooperation on Indonesian Forest Fires”.


REMSAT (Real-time Emergency Management via Satellite)
Modern emergency management organizations worldwide have defined a need for real-time communications between command centres, field personnel and equipment such as helicopters, vehicles and heavy equipment. Existing and newly emerging space-based technologies such as satellite positioning systems, satellite communications and earth observation could satisfy many of today’s emergency management requirements. However, a gap currently exists between these technologies and their operational use. To address this need, the European Space Agency initiated the REMSAT (Real-time Emergency Management via Satellite) Activity. The objective of the REMSAT activity is to demonstrate the use of real-time satellite communications, localization, earth observation and meteorology services in emergency situations.


Satellite Service Division
The Satellite Services Division of the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) provides real time access to satellite data and products for the public and government.


On 2 October 2001, the European Space Agency will launch Envisat, an advanced polar-orbiting Earth observation satellite which will provide measurements of the atmosphere, ocean, land, and ice over a five year period. The SCanning Imaging Absorption SpectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartographY (SCIAMACHY) is one of the Announcement of Opportunity payload instruments embarked on board. The SCIAMACHY primary mission objective is to perform global measurements of trace gases in the troposphere and in the stratosphere, including emissions from vegetation fires.


Space Monitoring Information Support Laboratory
This web site of the Russian “Space Monitoring Information Support Laboratory” provides extensive links to sites with satellite imagery for the Russian Federation, meteorological information as well as fire related images are accessible. The sub web page ( offers the up-to-date collection of fire detection imagery for the Russian Federation.


Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS)
This page of the TOMS homepage provides extensive coverage of smoke and haze images all over the world.


University of Alabama, Huntsville
Several well documented case studies on remote sensing of fires and amission products are prvided by Sundar A. Christopher comprising (1) Central American fires (1998): Intercomparison of Satellite Products; (2) fire and smoke monitoring using the NOAA-14 AVHRR during SCAR-B (Smoke, Clouds, Aerosols, and Radiation Experiment); (3) fire and smoke monitoring using the NOAA-14 AVHRR during the Zambian International Biomass Burning Emissions Experiment (ZIBBEE); and (4) satellite remote sensing of fires: A global perspective.


University of Wisconsin
For the past 10 years the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison has used the GOES series of satellites to monitor fires and smoke in the Western Hemisphere. To date most of the investigations have concentrated on using multi-spectral GOES-8 imagery (visible, 3.9, 10.7, and 12 microns) to identify and catalogue fire activity in South America associated with deforestation, grassland management, and agricultural applications. Daily fire product imageries are provided 4 times at 11:45, 14:45, 17:45, and 20:45 UTC. The website also contains the GOES-8 ASADA Experimental Smoke Product for South America. The GOES-8 Automated Biomass Burning Algorithm (ABBA) ( Preliminary Fire Products and Imagery Page is currently off-line. The page will return for the fire season of 2001 in June.


UNOSAT is a United Nations initiative to provide the humanitarian community with access to satellite imagery and Geographic Information System (GIS) services. UNOSAT is implemented by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and managed by the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS). In addition, partners from public and private organizations constitute the UNOSAT consortium.



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