Knowledgebase : LANCE

Fire Radiative Power is used to measure intensity; it depicts the pixel-integrated fire radiative power in MW (megawatts). FRP provides information on the measured radiant heat output of detected fires. The amount of radiant heat energy liberated per unit time (the Fire Radiative Power) is thought to be related to the rate at which fuel is being consumed at the time of satellite overpass.

The distortion you note is due to the display of the data in geographic coordinates. In this case the data are displayed in latitude/longitude coordinates based on their location on a three-dimensional sphere representing the Earth. When the data are portrayed this way in a viewer, some particular distortion is apparent. However, when geographic data are also projected onto a 2-dimensional plane using a map projection, there is no one perfect projection that has no distortion or error either. Map projections typically do well at maintaining one or more of the basic spatial properties (shape, area, distance, direction), but not all of them. As an example, some web map viewers/applications display data using Web Map Mercator projection. The properties of this projection introduces scale distortion and makes features in the higher latitudes appear larger than they are in reality. This is just one common example, but there are always tradeoffs when displaying geographic data.

Thanks for your query.

You can obtain burned area data from MODIS (MCD65) (GeoTIFF, shape and HDF files) from
The algorithm doesn't pick up small / cool fires so that may only get you so far.

You can try using the 721 band combination in Worldview:

In the not too distant future there will be a VIIRS burned area product but this is not available yet. You can find out more here:

I hope this helps

For a country you can use:

or if you want a simple rectangle for either area, use:

For current fires use sensors with (URT+NRT), for historical (SP)

To view date ranges:

You can download MODIS and VIIRS hotspot data (as shown in Web Fire Mapper: from the FIRMS archive download tool:

Please note the MODIS archive is made up of standard quality data when available (approximately 2 months after overpass) and the near real-time data. The difference between the two is explained in the FAQs:

It is recommended you review the FAQs before using the data and consult the relevant user guides for MODIS and VIIRS:

Please note: there is a limit on how much data you can download at once, so you may have to break up your request in to smaller requests - depending on the size of your area of interest and date range.

I hope this helps
Diane Davies
FIRMS User Support

You can opt to receive a .CSV file for your fire email alert from FIRMS and this can be opened in EXCEL using the File / import option. See instructions below:

First, save the CSV file to you computer

You can open this in EXCEL using the following -

In Go to File on the top menu
/ select import
/ select CSV then select import
/ choose the CSV file you saved from your alert
/ select "delimited" for the file type that best describes your data
/ select "next"
make sure "comma" is selected as a delimiter,
/select finish

you should now be able to read the data in an Excel spreadsheet.

For information on the attributes go to:

Please try the following:
Go to
enter your email address and hit proceed
select create fire alert

in the drop down box that says "World" select "custom region" then "Use Map"
on the map Select "Streets" from the Basemaps menu on the bottom of the screen. From here you should be able to zoom in and draw a polygon around the protected areas.

Go to
Enter your email address and click proceed. Follow the instructions to
"edit" your new alert.
You can use the map to zoom in and select your area of interest either
by drawing a polygon, entering corner coordinates, or by selecting a
country or protected area.

Please review the FAQs: for more information.

If you have problems, let me know
FIRMS Support

Re: questions about NRT alerts

The FIRMS email alerts can be sent in near real-time, daily or weekly, so if you want to find out about fires detected as soon as possible you should subscribe to a near real-time email alert.

The fire points are sent out in an email as soon as they are processed by LANCE. Alerts are sent only if a fire (or hotspot) was detected. Near real-time alerts are usually sent within 3 hours of satellite overpass for fires detected using MODIS, onboard Aqua and Terra, and within 4 hours for fires detected using data from VIIRS. The near real-time alerts are subscribed to and managed by the user just the same way as the daily and weekly detection summaries.

Please see our FAQs for more information.

If you have further questions, please let me know.


The confidence value was added to help users gauge the quality of individual fire pixels is included in the Level 2 fire product. They are different for MODIS and VIIRS. 

For MODIS the confidence value ranges between 0% and 100% and can be used to assign one of the three fire classes (low-confidence fire, nominal-confidence fire, or high-confidence fire) to all fire pixels within the fire mask. In some applications errors of commission (or false alarms) are particularly undesirable, and for these applications one might be willing to trade a lower detection rate to gain a lower false alarm rate. Conversely, for other applications missing any fire might be especially undesirable, and one might then be willing to tolerate a higher false alarm rate to ensure that fewer true fires are missed. Users requiring fewer false alarms may wish to retain only nominal- and high-confidence fire pixels, and treat low-confidence fire pixels as clear, non-fire, land pixels. Users requiring maximum fire detectability who are able to tolerate a higher incidence of false alarms should consider all three classes of fire pixels.

For VIIRS: This value is based on a collection of intermediate algorithm quantities used in the detection process. It is intended to help users gauge the quality of individual hotspot/fire pixels. Confidence values are set to low, nominal and high. Low confidence daytime fire pixels are typically associated with areas of sun glint and lower relative temperature anomaly (<15K) in the mid-infrared channel I4. Nominal confidence pixels are those free of potential sun glint contamination during the day and marked by strong (>15K) temperature anomaly in either day or nighttime data. High confidence fire pixels are associated with day or nighttime saturated pixels.

The confidence value is application specific.  This isn't very helpful, I know, but unfortunately there's no way to establish an optimal cutoff a priori.  Users have to adopt an empirical approach -- what threshold works best for what I'm trying to do?  Unfortunately the confidence values in the product do not directly correspond to the statistical confidence levels in reference to Type I and Type II errors.

For more information please see the FAQs ( and the User Guides (

If you are analyzing biomass burning you might consider using burned area rather than active fire data as active fire data only gives you a partial picture.
[from the FIRMS FAQ "It is not recommended to use active fire locations to estimate burned area due to spatial and temporal sampling issues. Determining this to an acceptable degree of accuracy is generally not possible due to nontrivial spatial and temporal sampling issues. For some applications, however, acceptable accuracy can be achieved, although the effective area burned per fire pixel is not simply a constant, but rather varies with respect to several different vegetation and fire-related variables. See Giglio et al. (2006) for more information"

There is a global MODIS burned area (MCD64A1) product which is available at: 
Please note, this method may underestimate burned area if there is persistent cloud during the fire season. 

If you don't need high spatial resolution then you could alternatively use the GFED4 global burned area data set (0.25-degree spatial resolution, daily + monthly temporal resolution), which is derived exclusively from MCD64A1 from ~August 2000 onward. To find out more about GFED4 go to: 

To access the MODIS active fire text files via FTP you need to be registered in the EOSDIS (Earth Observing System Data and Information System) User Registration System.

If you haven't already registered under NASA EOSDIS , you can sign up at:

Once registered, you will be able to access the FIRMS text files from: and

Alternatively, you can sign up for our free email alert service ( which will notify you when hotspots / fires are detected in your area of interest.


Para acceder a los archivos de texto de incendios activos de MODIS a través de FTP,  necesitas estar registrado en el Sistema de Registro de Usuario de EOSDIS. Si usted no está registrado con NASA EOSDIS, usted puede inscribirse en: 

Una vez registrado, usted puede acceder a los archivos de texto de: y 

Como alternativa, puede suscribirse a nuestro servicio de alertas por correo electrónico gratuito ( que envíe una notificación cuando hotspots / incendios son detectado en su área de interés.

Thank you for your inquiry. Here are some instructions you might find useful:

Basic instructions for authenticating can be found here:

The exact sequence and syntax that I used:

        cd ~

        touch .netrc

        echo "machine login <username> password <password>" > .netrc

        chmod 0600 .netrc

   where <username> is your URS username and <password> is your URS password.

For wget (no clobber of existing files, all files downloaded into current directory):

        wget -nc -nH --cut-dirs 4 -r --load-cookies ~/.urs_cookies --save-cookies ~/.urs_cookies --keep-session-cookies --auth-no-challenge

Please let me know if there are any obstacles. We will be happy to help you get the data.

NASA promotes the full and open sharing of all data with the research and applications communities, private industry, academia, and the general public. You can find out more about the data policy at:

I was playing around with QGIS yesterday and today to see what might be happening to prevent it from working. I have not yet discovered why QGIS doesn't work with our server (ArcGIS does seem to work), but I do have a work-around so that you can load the images into QGIS indirectly.

If you use your web browser to view the image, then download the image from your web browser onto your computer, you can then load this image into QGIS. It is not as convenient as having QGIS do it directly, but at least it can work.

So, for example, I entered the following URL into my web browser:,-90,180,90&SRS=EPSG:4326

My browser displayed an image with red squares for each fire. I then right-clicked on the image and saved it to my computer. Then I went to QGIS and selected Layer->Add Raster Layer and used the file dialog to select the file I had just downloaded. QGIS asked for the coordinate system, which is WGS-84 (which corresponds to EPSG:4326) for this particular example, and it then displayed the image in its layer view.

If you edit the URL in your browser, you can set your date, time, region of interest, and image width and height for the image you want to download. For example:,39,18,48&SRS=EPSG:4326