USDA Forest Service
Active Fire Mapping Program
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About Active Fire Maps

Geospatial Technology and Applications Center

125 South State Street
Suite 7105
Salt Lake City, UT

voice: (801) 975-3737
fax: (801) 975-3478

MODIS Active Fire Mapping Program FAQs

This is a list of frequently asked questions regarding the MODIS Active Fire Mapping Program. More FAQs will be added soon. If you have a question about this program, please use the Feedback link at the bottom of this page.

1. What is the USDA Forest Service MODIS Active Fire Mapping Program?
The MODIS Active Fire Mapping Program provides a near real-time geospatial overview of the current wildland fire situation at regional and national scales. Locations of current fires and the extent of previous fire activity are ascertained using satellite imagery acquired by the MODIS sensor. These fire data are integrated with various sources of contextual spatial data and information in a suite of geospatial data and mapping products. This information is utilized by fire managers to assess the current fire situation and serves as a decision support tool in strategic decisions regarding fire suppression resource allocation. The data and products provided by the program are also valuable for numerous other fire-related applications.

2. What is MODIS?
MODIS is the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer. The MODIS instrument is a polar orbiting, high temporal, moderate spatial resolution sensor that acquires remote sensing data for monitoring the Earth's land, ocean and atmosphere. The MODIS instrument is currently on board two NASA EOS satellites: Terra, launched in December 1999, and Aqua, launched in May 2002.

3. How often does MODIS acquire data and what are the characteristics of the data?
Each MODIS sensor has a wide field of view (2,330 kilometers) that allows the sensor to image the Earth on a daily basis at latitudes greater than 30 degrees and every 1 to 2 days at latitudes less than 30 degrees. MODIS image data are acquired in 36 co-registered spectral bands at moderate spatial resolutions (250, 500, and 1,000 meters). Thermal information is collected at 1,000-meter spatial resolution and is collected twice daily by each sensor (one daytime and one nighttime observation) in the mid to high latitudes.

4. What geographic areas does the MODIS Active Fire Mapping Program cover?
The MODIS Active Fire Mapping Program provides active fire detection and monitoring for the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii and Canada.

5. How often are the data and products on this website updated?
MODIS fire detection data and products are continuously updated and published year round to provide temporal and spatial coverage for the variable fire conditions that occur year round on the North American continent. MODIS data are acquired and processed typically within one hour of acquisition. MODIS data and products are made available on the program website immediately following data acquisition and processing.

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