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Forest Fires



  • Wildfires are increasing in intensity, frequency, and range globally. Record-breaking wildfire seasons have been observed in recent years worldwide, from Australia to Canada, the United States to China, Europe, and the Amazon. According to a United Nations report [link].

  • Uncontrollable and extreme wildfires can devastate people, biodiversity, and ecosystems. They also intensify climate change, contributing significant greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

  • Worsening heat and dryness could lead to a 50% rise in wildfires.

  • Land use change and lack of investment in appropriate land and forest management make wildfires more dangerous. With global temperatures on the rise, the need to reduce wildfire risk is more critical than ever.​



A better understanding and prediction of wildfires are of vital importance for wildfire management, emergency response, ecosystem management, enhancing social-ecological resilience, and land-use planning. Recent significant growth of wildfires around the world has increased attention on the causes of wildfires, their consequences, and how their risk can be reduced. Wildland fire is a complicated process, and Its occurrence and behavior are dependent on a complex interaction among ignition source, fuel composition, topography, and weather. Moreover, wildfire events can be studied across various scales – from ignition and combustion processes that happen at a scale of centimeters over a period of seconds to fire growth over minutes to days from meters to kilometers. Therefore, a resource nexus approach is required because wildfire has become a global and interdisciplinary challenge due to impacts, interactions, and feedback among fire, terrestrial, and atmospheric systems in the context of climate change, human health, ecosystem, and policy adaptation. On the other side, the escalating wildfire in many regions due to climate change, its impact on the lives of people, and continued development in fire-prone areas necessitate a Nexus approach; Without an integrated framework, fire will never operate as a natural ecosystem process, and the impact on society will continue to increase. 



Active Fire Data

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) satellite sensors provide near real-time active fire detections worldwide. They can be downloaded in the last 24, 48 hours, and seven days via the National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Fire Information for Resource Management System (NASA-FIRMS) archive ( Each MODIS active fire observation corresponds to a 1 km × 1.


Wildfire Risk to Communities 

The wildfire risk to communities product includes eight components/datasets of wildfire risk across the contiguous United States. These datasets are: 1) risk to potential structures, 2) conditional risk to potential structures, 3) exposure type, 4) burn probability, 5) conditional flame length, 6) flame length exceedance probability (4 ft), 7) flame length exceedance probability (8 ft), and 8) wildfire hazard potential. These datasets can be downloaded from the United States Department of Agriculture.


U.S. Forest Service Final Fire Perimeter

The U.S. Forest Service program collects and manages this dataset to track areas affected by wildland fires. Two downloadable file formats include shapefiles, an ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute) file geodatabase, and an available map service. The Final Fire Perimeter polygon layer represents the final mapped wildland fire perimeters. Significant incidents (10 acres or more) are illustrated, and incidents smaller than 10 acres in size may also be included. 


Global Wildfire Information System

The Global Wildfire Information System (GWIS) is a collaboration between the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and Copernicus Work Program. There are currently five applications in GWIS.


Fire Danger Forecast Data Products

The Fire Danger Forecasting Project is a joint effort between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Forest Service. Their goal is to develop a digital map application that can be used to monitor and forecast fire potential within the contiguous United States. The Fire Danger Forecast includes the Fire Potential Index (FPI) up to 7 days in advance, four large fire probability maps, and a table showing the probability of large fires by Geographic Area Coordination Center (GACC).


InciWeb - Incident Information System

InciWeb is a web-based system to primarily provides the most current information about active wildfires, prescribed fires, and restoration efforts from wildland fires in the United States. The information available includes an incident’s severity, growth potential, location, contacts, and closure/evacuation information. The website also offers news releases, announcements, maps, photos, and videos.


National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlooks

The Predictive Services and National Interagency Fire Center generate this product. It aims to improve the information available to fire management decision-makers in the United States. It is updated on the first of each month or the first work day of each month. The outlook identifies areas by month for the next four months with above, below, and near-normal significant fire potential. 


7-Day Significant Fire Potential

This product was created by the Predictive Services and National Interagency Fire Center to forecast significant fire potential in the United States. It assesses the daily probability of the occurrence of a new large fire and/or the daily potential for significant new growth on existing fires. This website is updated by 12:00 MDT (Mountain Daylight Time) every day. It displays a 7-day outlook of significant fire potential for each Predictive Services Area (PSA) with a comparison to the historical values.


Severe Fire Danger Mapping System

Produced by the Wildland Fire Assessment System to forecast fire potential across the United States daily. This system uses information from the National Weather Service, National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD), and the Weather Information Management System (WIMS).  The maps provide Burning Index, Energy Release Component, and Safety Preparedness Level, each categorized into five levels (i.e., low, moderate, high, very high, and severe).


Global Fire Emissions Database

The Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED) uses satellite data on fire activity and vegetation productivity to calculate gridded monthly burned area and fire emissions, as well as scalars that can be used to compute higher temporal resolution emissions. Most of the derived datasets can be downloaded from this website.


The Global Fire Weather Database

The Global Fire Weather Database (GFWED) combines weather variables that affect the likelihood of a vegetation fire starting and spreading based on the Fire Weather Index (FWI) System. The FWI System was created in Canada and comprises three moisture codes and three fire behavior indices. The behavior indices would represent the spread rate, fuel consumption, and intensity of a fire if it were to start, while the moisture codes record the moisture content of the three generalized fuel classes.


Joint Fire Science Program

The Joint Fire Science Program provides scientists, fire practitioners, and decision-makers access to fire science information, resources, and funding announcements in the United States
On this site, you can:
•    Apply for funding
•    Read study summaries 
•    Register for events (e.g., conferences and webinars)
•    Connect with scientists and managers in your area through the regional Fire Science Exchange Network

Get to Know Wildfire AID Members

You can consult with the AID group leader or any members for your regional, national, and global datasets, tools, and analytics projects and questions.


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