Using GOES-16 to Detect Wildfires

Satellite Liaison Blog

Quite a few wildfires developed this afternoon across Oklahoma and Arkansas as dry conditions prevail across the region. GOES-16 has several bands that are useful for the detection and tracking of wildfire hotspots and associated smoke plumes. In this example, we use the 3.9 um shortwave window IR 2 km band (similar to what is available on current GOES) to detect the wildfire hotspots (yellow), and the 0.47 um blue visible 1 km band to track the smoke plumes. The 0.47 um band will have higher reflectance in the presence of atmospheric aerosols (such as smoke) when compared to the legacy 0.64 um visible band. Combining these two bands into one display gives a forecaster a very helpful, quick view of wildfire activity across the region. The 2.25 um band can also be utilized to detect fire hotspots (especially very hot fires), particularly at night when the hotspot contrasts nicely with…

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