The MODIS sensors onboard the NASA Terra-1 and Aqua-1 allow for the operational detection of wildfires. Information for current wildfire activity is freely accessible on a daily basis.
The algorithm used for fire detection was developed at the University of Maryland, the implementation was realized in close collaboration with the Mexican Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (Conabio) and the German Remote Sensing Data Center. The Service was further enhanced in collaboration with the Portuguese Weather Service and the European Wildfire Information System of the Joint Research Center of the European Commission (Institute for Environment and Sustainability). The fire service contributes to the Global Firer Monitoring Center (GFMC) of the United Nations.
The MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-Radiometer) instrument is on board the Terra (EOS AM-1) and Aqua (EOS PM) satellite platforms as part of the NASA international Earth Observing System (EOS). Each MODIS sensor provides daily image coverage of almost the entire surface of the Earth in the mid to high latitudes, making observations in 36 spectral bands at moderate spatial resolutions (250, 500, and 1000 meters). The thermal information is collected at 1000 m spatial resolution twice daily by each sensor, providing up to four thermal observations daily.
The MODIS images used for fire detection are acquired from two direct broadcast receiving stations from DLR located in Oberpfaffenhofen and Neustrelitz.
High Temperature Event (HTE) Detection
Identification of HTEs is performed using the algorithm MOD14 fire and thermal anomalies. MOD14 is well documented and tested in operational services (Mexico, global) and guarantees comparability and reproducibility as well as a standardized international acknowledged product. HTE detection is performed using a contextual algorithm that exploits the strong emission of mid-infrared radiation from wildland fires (land-use fires, wildfires burning in forests, savannas, peatlands and other ecosystems) and other fires or heat sources (e.g., gas flares, volcanoes, industrial sites).
Identification of a MODIS pixel as "fire" does not necessarily mean that the whole area represented by the pixel is on fire. The identification of a fire can be the result of a hot fire in a relatively small area, or a cooler fire over a larger area.
The products are the locations of hot spots in near-real time for Europe and surrounding countries, including, for every detected fire, information about:
Each fire is located as the centre of a 1 km pixel. Information about the last 50 MODIS overpasses is listed in tables and is also superimposed on a true-colour and a false coulor MODIS image (both 1km and 4 km resolution). Additionally, fire hot spots are also downloadable as an ESRI shapefile or a Google Earth KML file.
Furthermore, fire locations of the last 7 days are available on an interactive map or as a Web Feature Service (WFS) or Web Map Service (WMS).