In recent years, there has been a rapid development in satellite based fire mapping and monitoring capabilities from polar as well as geostationary satellites. Apart from the highly matured NASA MODIS fire products, new earth observation data from sensors, such as VIIRS on Suomi NPP and JPSS, Sentinel data from European Space Agency and the LANDSAT-8 Continuity Mission provide opportunities as well as challenges in addressing fire research questions and subsequently to develop new operational fire products useful for forest/natural resource management. There have also been efforts by other space agencies in India, Brazil, China and Japan to develop fire products for forest/natural resource management. The algorithms used for developing fire products vary considerably based on the type of satellite data, sensor capabilities as well as national fire research/management priorities.
GOFC-GOLD (Global Observation of Forest and Land Cover Dynamics) is a project of the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) program, which is sponsored by the Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS). The main goal of GOFC-GOLD is to provide a forum for international information exchange, observation and data coordination, and a framework for establishing the necessary long-term monitoring systems. The GOFC-GOLD Fire Mapping and Monitoring Theme is aimed at refining and articulating the international observation requirements and making the best possible use of fire products from the existing and future satellite observing systems, for fire management, policy decision-making and global change research. GOFC-GOLD is promoting self-organized regional networks of data users, data brokers and providers, where closer linkages and collaborations are established with emphasis on an improved understanding of user requirements and product quality. GOFC-GOLD-Fire is pursuing, in a joint effort with the Committee on Earth Observing Satellites (CEOS) Working Group on Calibration and Validation (WGCV) Land Product Validation (LPV) subgroup, the coordinated validation of fire products by standardized protocols.
RedLaTIF (Red Latinoamericana de Teledetección e Incendios Forestales; http://www.redlatif.org), Latin America´s Remote Sensing and Forest Fires network, was established in 2002 as a participant of GOFC-GOLD. Its activities have included regional projects with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to integrate and validate vegetation fire data from remote sensing satellite imagery, publication of papers in journals and conferences, participation in international meetings, and submission of projects to financing institutions. The coordination rotates among the participating countries and after turns in Argentina and Mexico, since late 2012, is based at INPE, in Brazil. Main current activities include a web site to assist users in their access to different international sources of near-real time satellite fire monitoring data, with a unique regional option to define customized products and reports operationally provided by INPE´s “Queimadas” Program (http://www.redlatif.org/pt/datos) .
A database of media news related to forest fires published since 2014 in Latin America has been created with a double purpose: to evaluate the interest of the press in the subject of forest fires in the region, and to assess the effectiveness of satellite fire monitoring based on the media reports of fire occurrences. Results presented in tables, graphs and maps can be found at http://www.redlatif.org/pt/noticias .Studies are currently being conducted to validate regional burned area products distributed by agencies of global monitoring, and also to evaluate and improve INPE´s maps of Fire Risk numerical estimates and forecasts; results of a recent cooperation with FAN/Bolivia along those lines resulted in a few scientific papers in international remote sensing conferences; similar initiatives with other countries are being prepared.
The proposed RedLaTIF meeting, held in the format of a four-day workshop, will promote discussions and a hands-on validation exercise with active fire detections and burned area estimates in satellite images using real events from the participants’ countries to generate comparable sets of fire data and fire impact in the vegetation. Lecturers from institutions providing global and regional data sets and users from the fire remote sensing community will interact to improve the applications of available information and to analyze and identify future needs.