Earth  ID: 3872

South American Fire Observations and MODIS NDVI

From space, we can understand fires in ways that are impossible from the ground. NASA research has contributed to much improved detection of fire for scientific purposes using satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems. This visualization of South America shows fire observations made by MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on board the Terra and Aqua satellites . South America exhibits a steady flickering of fire across much of the Amazon rainforest with peaks of activity in September and November. Almost all of the fires in the Amazon are the direct result of human activity, including slash-and-burn agriculture, because the high moisture levels in the region prevent inhibit natural fires from occurring.

More information on the Fire Information for Resource Management (FIRMS) is available at



Visualization Credits

Lori Perkins (NASA/GSFC): Lead Animator
Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC): Animator
Kayvon Sharghi (USRA): Producer
Chris Justice (University of Maryland): Scientist
Louis Giglio (SSAI): Scientist
Luigi Boschetti Ph.D. (University Of Maryland College Park): Scientist
Adam P Voiland (Wyle Information Systems): Writer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Fire location data courtesy of MODIS Rapid Response Project (NASA/GSFC and University of Maryland -

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Data Used:
Terra and Aqua/MODIS/Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)
Terra and Aqua/MODIS/Fire Location
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

Dates of Data Used:
2002/07/01 - 2011/07/30

This item is part of these series:
Multisensor Fire Observations
Agriculture Animations - Fires

DLESE >> Atmospheric science
DLESE >> Forestry
DLESE >> Natural hazards
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Biosphere >> Ecological Dynamics >> Fire Occurrence
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Natural Hazards >> Fires
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> For Educators
SVS >> Ecosystems
SVS >> Natural Disaster
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version