Burned Area Products

Burned areas are characterized by deposits of charcoal and ash, removal of vegetation, and alteration of the vegetation structure (Pereira et al.,1997, Roy et al., 1999). The MODIS burned area mapping algorithm takes advantage of these spectral, temporal, and structural changes. It detects the approximate date of burning at a spatial resolution of 500 m by locating the occurrence of rapid changes in daily surface reflectance time series data. The algorithm maps the spatial extent of recent fires and not of fires that occurred in previous seasons or years.

The latest version (Collection 6) of the MODIS Global Burned Area Product was released in 2017. The new product (MCD64A1) supersedes the heritage Collection 5.1 (C5.1) MCD64A1 and MCD45A1 products whose use is deprecated. The new algorithm is designed to be extremely tolerant of cloud and aerosol contamination, which affected the Collection 5.1 MCD45A1 product. As a consequence, the Collection 6 MCD64A1 product has significantly better detection of small burns, a modest reduction in burn-date temporal uncertainty, and a large reduction in the extent of unmapped areas compared to the C5.1 products.

Please see the MODIS Burned Area Product User's Guide for detailed information about the MODIS burned area product suite. The entire product archive is available in a variety of formats (HDF, GeoTIFF, Shapefile). Instructions for downloading the data may be found in Section 4 of the User's Guide.

September 2017 MCD64A1 global burned area map
September 2017 MCD64A1 global burned area map. Rainbow color spectrum encodes the day of burn during the calendar month. Unburned land is shown in black. Unmapped areas are shown in white. Image produced by the MODIS Land Data Operational Product Evaluation Facility.

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