Latest revision: August 9, 2018
Contact details: Niels Andela (

The Global Fire Atlas dataset tracks the day-to-day dynamics of individual fires based on moderate resolution burned area data. During 2003 - 2016, we identified about 13.3 million individual fires globally. For each individual fire, the dataset provides information on the timing and location of the ignition, the fire size, perimeter, duration, daily fire line, daily expansion, speed and direction of spread. The methodology and validation are presented in Andela et al. (2018), while details on the underlying 500 m resolution daily burned area product (MCD64A1 collection 6) are described in Giglio et al. (2018). Data are available from 2003 to 2016 and will be updated annually while both Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments are operational.

Data are produced in GIS file-formats (GeoTIFF and shape files) and are available as gridded 500 m global layers with corresponding vector shapefiles showing individual fire perimeters and ignition locations, as well as a monthly 0.25° aggregate product (Table 1). The annual global shape files and 500 m gridded layers are produced for each fire season, a 12-month period centered on the month of peak-fire activity in each 10° x 10° MODIS tile. Because each 500 m pixel rarely burns twice during a single fire season, this format allows for annual 500 m data layers with minimal loss of information. In contrast, the 0.25° monthly layers are produced for each calendar year, with averages taken based on the fraction of burned area of each individual fire within the respective month and 0.25° grid cell.

The data explorer tool below allows for exploration of the ignition point (red dots) and fire perimeter (black lines) shapefiles with corresponding attribute tables as well as the underlying 500 m gridded data on individual fire behavior (Table 1).

The example fire in northern Botswana burned across an area of 1600 km2 during 24 days. Interestingly, fire behavior (e.g. speed and direction of spread) varied widely within the fire boundaries and across different days.

Please zoom in to any region of interest and click on any fire to explore regional fire behavior across the globe. The dropdown lists in the upper left corner allow users to change the year and the underlying 500 m gridded data on individual fire behavior.

Current Selection: None
Lat, Lon N/A Start Date N/A Daily Fire Line N/A>
Perimeter N/A Duration N/A Speed N/A
Size N/A Daily Fire Expansion N/A Direction of Spread N/A

The shapefiles of ignition locations (point) and fire perimeters (polygon) contain attribute tables with summary information for each individual fire, while the underlying 500 m gridded layers reflect the day-to-day behavior of the individual fires. In addition, we provide aggregate monthly layers at 0.25° resolution for regional and global analyses.

Shapefile attributes*500 m daily gridded0.25° monthly gridded
Ignitionslocation and timing - sum
Perimeter (km) per fire - -
Size (km2) per fire -average
Duration (days) per fire -average
Daily fire line (km) average per fireyesaverage
Daily fire expansion (km2 day-1) average per fire-average
Speed (km day-1) average per fireyesaverage
Direction of spread (-) dominant per fireyesdominant
Day of burn -yes-
* vector data are derived from the underlying 500 m MODIS data.

The data and a short user guide can be downloaded from a public ftp site:

This work was supported by NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System program and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

  • Andela, N., Morton, D.C., Giglio, L., Paugam, R., Chen, Y., Hanson, S., van der Werf, G. R., Randerson, J.T. (2018). "The Global Fire Atlas of individual fire size, duration, speed, and direction." Earth System Science Data, submitted.
  • Giglio, L., Boschetti, L., Roy, D. P., Humber, M., and Justice, C. O. "The Collection 6 MODIS burned area mapping algorithm and product". Remote Sens. of Environ., 217, 72-85, 2018.