Mapping fires is critical for assessing the extent and effects of fire on the landscape. This is especially the case on islands where high-valued resources are concentrated, terrain can be complex, and post-fire succession to grasslands may determine future fire risk. Free satellite imagery and new tools, especially Google Earth Engine, allow for rapid and accurate mapping of fires on Pacific Islands. The Wildland Fire Extension program uses these tools to provide high quality fire incident maps to agencies and landowners and contribute to fire history databases for research purposes.
Vegetation affected by 2016 Nanakuli Fire
The satellite-borne Moderate-resolution Imaging spectroradiometer instrument (MODIS) provides a powerful tool to track, map and analyze fire occurrence and fire history, especially for parts of the world where fire records are difficult to obtain.
Hawaii's difficult terrain constrain the accuracy of ground and aerial based fire mapping. Remotely sensed imagery can improve fire mapping and impact assessment.