Historical background and current developments for mapping burned area from satellite Earth observation

A new article has been published in Remote Sensing of Environment, reviewing burned area trends in the past 40 years, and commenting the main burned area products in existence.

Abstract: Fire has a diverse range of impacts on Earth's physical and social systems. Accurate and up to date information on areas affected by fire is critical to better understand drivers of fire activity, as well as its relevance for biogeochemical cycles, climate, air quality, and to aid fire management. Mapping burned areas was traditionally done from field sketches. With the launch of the first Earth observation satellites, remote sensing quickly became a more practical alternative to detect burned areas, as they provide timely regional and global coverage of fire occurrence. This review paper explores the physical basis to detect burned area from satellite observations, describes the historical trends of using satellite sensors to monitor burned areas, summarizes the most recent approaches to map burned areas and evaluates the existing burned area products (both at global and regional scales). Finally, it identifies potential future opportunities to further improve burned area detection from Earth observation satellites.

The article can be downloaded from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034425719300689