In a novel approach, the app combines data from the atmosphere (aerosol emissions in smoke) and the ground (heat anomalies) to effectively monitor large Amazon fires.
As detailed below, the app just detected the 12th major Amazon fire of the year on June 29, 2020 (see the high-resolution image to the right).
It burned 587 hectares (1,451 acres) of land deforested in 2019.
Thus far, all 12 major Amazon fires of 2020 have:
- Occured in the state of Mato Grosso, in the southeastern Brazilian Amazon.
- Burned recently deforested areas (that is, areas deforested in 2018, 2019, or 2020). In other words, these are not forest fires. See MAAP #113 for background on this important point.
Below, we describe the process of using the app to detect and confirm the fire on June 29.
Step 1. Detection of elevated emissions in the southeastern Brazilian Amazon (Mato Grosso).
Step 3. Adjust the transparency to see the underlying fire alerts that indicate the exact location of the fires. Obtain coordinates of the source of the fires.
Step 4. Confirm fire with satellite imagery. For example, here is a high resolution image from Planet Explorer showing the fire burning on June 29.
Step 5. Using Planet’s extensive imagery archive, we were able to determine that the fires were burning an area deforested in 2019 (and not a forest fire). In the timelapse below, see that the deforestation occurred between September and October 2019, and then burned on June 29, 2020. The final image shows the day after the fires, June 30, to see the full extent of the burn.
This work was supported by the following major funders: USAID/NASA (SERVIR), Global Forest Watch Small Grants Fund (WRI), Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), International Conservation Fund of Canada (ICFC), Metabolic Studio, and Erol Foundation.
Finer M, Villa L (2020) Amazon Fire Tracker 2020: Brazil #12 (June 29). MAAP.Download PDF of this article