Home Natural Hazard Management Tracking progress of wildfires with help of maps now possible

Tracking progress of wildfires with help of maps now possible

USA, 18 July 2006: The joint effort of NASA, the U.S. Forest Service, the University of Maryland and the National Interagency Fire Center has made it possible to track the progress of wildfires in the United States with maps updated several times a day and posted online for the public.

MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) imaging devices mounted on two NASA satellites monitor the Earth and can pinpoint a fire within a 500-meter distance. The instruments return data that is then turned into maps, which shows the location of past and actively burning fires.

Yellow on the map indicates an area that has burned at some point since January 1; orange shows an actively burning area (in the last 24 hours); red shows an actively burning area (in the last 12 hours).