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Historical background and current developments for mapping burned area from satellite Earth observation

Chuvieco, Emilio, Mouillot, Florent, van der Werf, Guido R., San Miguel, Jesús, Tanase, Mihai, Koutsias, Nikos, García, Mariano, Yebra, Marta, Padilla, Marc, Gitas, Ioannis, Heil, Angelika, Hawbaker, Todd J., Giglio, Louis
Remote sensing of environment 2019 v.225 pp. 45-64
air quality, biogeochemical cycles, climate, fire science and management, remote sensing, satellites
Fire has a diverse range of impacts on Earth's physical and social systems. Accurate and up to date information on areas affected by fire is critical to better understand drivers of fire activity, as well as its relevance for biogeochemical cycles, climate, air quality, and to aid fire management. Mapping burned areas was traditionally done from field sketches. With the launch of the first Earth observation satellites, remote sensing quickly became a more practical alternative to detect burned areas, as they provide timely regional and global coverage of fire occurrence. This review paper explores the physical basis to detect burned area from satellite observations, describes the historical trends of using satellite sensors to monitor burned areas, summarizes the most recent approaches to map burned areas and evaluates the existing burned area products (both at global and regional scales). Finally, it identifies potential future opportunities to further improve burned area detection from Earth observation satellites.