Wildfire Management ‰ÛÒ Recent Experiences on the Ground and how Remote Observation can add to the Picture

EarthzineArticles, Disasters, Earth Observation, OpEd, Original, Sections, Themed Articles, Wildfires Theme

For all the recent progress in Earth Observation technologies, wildfires remain a serious problem that poses ever-increasing challenges to our ingenuity. Minimizing their often-dramatic environmental and human impacts will require a smart combination of technology, political decision, and willingness to accept changes in our own individual and collective options as societies. In order to show how fire hazard is threatening many parts of the world on a recurrent basis, details are provided on the recent severe 2013 fire season in Portugal, along with background information on remote sensing of wildfires and related disaster risk management challenges.

Space-based Information Support for Prevention and Recovery of Forest Fire Emergency in the Mediterranean Area

EarthzineArticles, Original, Sections, Themed Articles, Wildfires Theme

The European Commission has recently adopted an approach to natural and man-made disasters that emphasizes joint efforts over separate national ones. The Prevention and Recovery of Forest Fire Emergency in the Mediterranean Area (PREFER) project will stimulate coordination among countries on forest fires prevention by providing timely Earth observation products based on all available space-borne sensors within the next four years.

Live Fuel Moisture Content Derived from Remote Sensing Estimates in Temperate Shrublands and Grasslands

EarthzineArticles, Ecosystems, Original, Sections, Themed Articles, Wildfires Theme


The paper proposes a new approach to estimating live fuel moisture content, a key variable in fire danger assessment. Our proposed model uses an alternative inversion procedure based on the look-up table technique. The model outperforms already-published Mediterranean models in estimated moisure content in the temperate grassland and shrubland of Spain‰Ûªs Eurosiberian ecosystem.

Mapping Post-Wildfire Neighborhood Recovery: Integrating Spatial Video with GIS for Data Collection and Analysis

EarthzineArticles, Original, Sections, Technology, Themed Articles, Wildfires Theme


Until recently, no systematic, dynamic, and cost-effective data collection strategy has been available for use in the study of post-disaster neighborhoods. In order to address this concern, we employed a geospatial approach, ‰ÛÏspatial video,‰Û which links video with coordinates acquired by a Global Positioning System receiver. This advance enables new study of the dynamic spatial and temporal scales of post-wildfire recovery.

Amplified Fire Occurrences in Response to Drought and Vegetation Stress in the Western Ghats of India

EarthzineArticles, climate change, Disasters, Earth Observation, Original, Sections, Themed Articles, Wildfires Theme

June 2003 chlorophyll-a anomaly map produced by subtracting the 7-year mean from the monthly average. Units are in milligrams per cubic meter.

By N. Kodandapani Asian Nature Conservation Foundation, Center for Ecological Sciences, Bangalore, India ABSTRACT There is uncertainty regarding the extent to which drought, fuel availability, and ignition sources contribute to the global fire regime. In 2004, sharply increased fire activity followed a severe drought, highlighting the importance of drought‰ÛÒfire linkages in the Western Ghats hotspot of biodiversity. The spatial extent … Read More

The Fire Mappers

EarthzineArticles, Original, Sections, Technology, Themed Articles, Wildfires Theme

Photo of buildings reflected in a puddle. Photo Credit: Till Westermayer


Climate change is contributing to larger wildfires and a longer fire season, making the need for near-real time and ultra-precise maps of fires more critical than ever. A team at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), in Boise, Idaho, (USA), is responding to that demand with new and better mapping technologies.

Exploiting Temporal Coherence for Fire Mapping from MODIS Spaceborne Observations

EarthzineArticles, Original, Sections, Technology, Themed Articles, Wildfires Theme


Noise from various sources, such as clouds, is present in satellite observations. This noise, as well as low contrast in satellite images, prevents automatic tools from processing each image independently. We developed an approach which processes all images simultaneously and enforces the constraint that the burned areas can only grow in time. This allows the exploitation of temporal information not available for a single image.