USDA Forest Service

Geospatial Technology And Applications Center

Why isn’t my fire on the website?

There are several possible reasons for a fire being absent from this website:

1. The fire doesn't meet program criteria. Generally only wildland fires that meet the standard RAVG criteria have data published on the RAVG website. The primary criterion is that the fire include at least 1000 acres of forested National Forest System land (500 acres for Regions 8 and 9).

2. Suitable imagery is not yet available. Sufficiently clear pre- and post-fire imagery is required for each RAVG assessment. In order to improve the assessment quality, the analyst may choose to wait for near-ideal post-fire imagery rather than using an earlier but less-than-ideal scene. Most fires are assessed using imagery acquired no later than 45 days after fire containment; however, for fires that burn into the Fall or that occur during winter or early Spring, the presence of snow and/or excessive terrain shadows may dictate waiting until late Spring or Summer for imagery. The Mapping Status page shows the status of fires that are expected to meet RAVG criteria but that have not yet been assessed.

3. The fire is included with another assessment. If two or more large fires merge and are assessed as a single burned area, they will appear in the database under the name of only one of the original fires. Similarly, fires in a named complex may appear under the name of the complex or under individual fire names.

4. The fire pre-dates RAVG. The RAVG program was implemented on a national scale in 2007. Fires from years before 2007 are not included in the RAVG database.

5. The fire severity was extremely low. Occasionally the signature of a low-severity fire will be undetectable in satellite imagery. This is more likely for a surface fire under closed canopy cover. In this situation, the RAVG analyst may choose not to conduct the assessment.

For additional information about missing fires, contact the RAVG program (see the Contact Us page).

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