Friday’s Food for Thought: Mapping Wildfires

Analyzing wildfires and identifying high-risk locations


With the growing advancement of satellite imagery and much research centered on climate change, it is becoming easier to predict wildfires to help save lives and preserve land.

Reveal News reports on how three wildfires last summer in southern Lake County, Calif., affected vegetation health. The news team gathered satellite data from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Landsat 8 satellite, available online for free, and used different panchromatic bands to produce true-color images of what the land looks like to the naked eye. Read the story and explore the map and imagery.

If you want to see where wildfires are occurring in real time, Esri has a public information map pinpointing their locations. The map pulls data from Flickr, Twitter, YouTube,, and USGS wildfire activities. The map also provides fire weather warnings for at-risk areas.

Researchers at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom are helping European countries better prepare for wildfires by identifying areas of high risk using satellite imagery. Satellite data and weather statistics helped the team create a map revealing where large fires happen more frequently. High-risk areas include parts of Spain, France, Italy, Albania, Bulgaria, and Cyprus.

As a way to track both wildfires and deforestation in Indonesia, Greenpeace Indonesia launched a mapping tool to allow the public to monitor fires and deforestation in near-real time. Produced using open-source technology provided by Global Forest Watch, users can see fires in peatland, tiger and orangutan habitats, palm oil, pulpwood, logging, or coal-mining concession areas.

Photo Credit: Reveal News

Posted in: got geoint?   Tagged in: Civil, Disaster Relief, GIS, Remote Sensing

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