International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

A pragmatic assessment of the usefulness of the MODIS (Terra and Aqua) 1-km active fire (MOD14A2 and MYD14A2) products for mapping fires in the fynbos biome

Helen de Klerk
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

Scientific Services, Western Cape Nature Conservation Board, Private Bag X5014, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa. Email: hdeklerk@capenature.co.za

International Journal of Wildland Fire 17(2) 166-178 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF06040
Submitted: 27 March 2006  Accepted: 7 September 2007   Published: 18 April 2008

Abstract

The moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) fire-affected area data are not currently available for download by the public; therefore, 1-km pixel MODIS active fire data (MOD14A2 and MYD14A2) were assessed as a potential source of fire history data for the fynbos biome. These data mapped between 60.1 and 65.7% of the area within fire boundaries mapped by reserve managers between July 2002 and April 2005. These results should not be taken as a negative reflection on the MODIS team, as active fires do not aim to map fire-affected area. Rather this exercise has helped identify specific limitations in the fynbos, which will provide insight into the fine-tuning of other MODIS fire products for use in the fynbos. Limitations are likely to be primarily due to sun-glint around coastlines; topographic shadows; highly reflective, light soils exposed after a fire; partial burning of pixels; patchy and irregular-shaped fires; and large pixel size. The MODIS active fire data are not sufficient for the purposes of developing a 4-year fire history of the fynbos. The publication of the 500-m MODIS fire-affected area data is eagerly anticipated as a solution.

Additional keywords: burned areas, Cape Floristic Region, conservation management, fire-affected area, fire scars, GIS, remote sensing, South Africa, Western Cape.


Acknowledgements

My most sincere thanks to Charles Ichoku for contributing his valuable time to my development in this field, and very useful comment on this manuscript. My thanks also to Nadia Smith and three anonymous reviewers for comments on the contents of this manuscript, to Guy Palmer and Therese Forsyth for editorial input, and to Granville van Ross for extracting the manager-mapped fire boundaries from the WCNCB fire database.


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