Fires (MODIS)

Global MODIS-derived hotspots and fire locations

  • Source: NASA
  • Last update: -

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Thermal Anomalies/Fire products are primarily derived from MODIS 4 and 11 micrometer radiances. The fire detection strategy is based on absolute detection of a fire (when the fire strength is sufficient to detect) and on detection relative to its background (to account for variability of the surface temperature and reflection by sunlight). The product includes fire occurrence (day/night), fire location, the logical criteria used for the fire selection, detection confidence, fire radiative power, and numerous other layers describing fire pixel attributes. The product distinguishes between fire, no fire, and no observation. Level 3 Daily fire products include 8 separate days of data detailing pixels according to their level of confidence as fires. This information will be used in monitoring the spatial and temporal distribution of fires in different ecosystems, detecting changes in fire distribution, and identifying new fire frontiers, wildfires, and changes in the frequency of the fires or their relative strength. MODIS data on Terra and Aqua are acquired from each platform twice daily at mid-latitudes. These 4 daily MODIS fire observations that are typically acquired serve operational fire management needs while also advancing global monitoring of the fire process and its effects on ecosystems, the atmosphere, and climate. Resource Watch shows only a subset of the data set. For access to the full data set and additional information, see the Learn More link.

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Formal name

MODIS/Aqua+Terra Thermal Anomalies/Fire locations 1km FIRMS V006


Not all fires are detected. There are several reasons why MODIS may not have detected a certain fire. The fire may have started and ended between satellite overpasses. The fire may have been too small or too cool to be detected in the (approximately) 1 km2 pixel. Cloud cover, heavy smoke, or tree canopy may completely obscure a fire. It is not recommended to use active fire locations to estimate burned area due to spatial and temporal sampling issues. When zoomed out, this data layer displays some degree of inaccuracy because the data points must be collapsed to be visible on a larger scale. Zoom in for greater detail.

Suggested citation

NASA. "MODIS Thermal Anomalies/Fire." Accessed through Resource Watch, (date). We acknowledge the use of data and imagery from LANCE FIRMS operated by the NASA/GSFC/Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) with funding provided by NASA/HQ.


National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

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Spatial resolution

1 km

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