News

Satellite Detected Fires over Europe in 2022

Analysing fires with LSA SAF Fire Radiative Power in the summer fire season
  • Nov. 11, 2022

    The EFFIS data indicate that there were substantially more fire events in 2022 than in the reference years of 2006-2021. Satellite-derived fire products can be useful tools in all fire stages, i.e., to predict fire risk, to detect active fires and to map the burnt area. LSA SAF provides an estimate of fire danger in the pre-fire phase, with the product Fire Risk Map v2 (FRM, LSA-504.2), the detected fires and respective intensity through the Fire Radiative Power (FRP, LSA-502). Here the LSA SAF fire radiative power pixel product is used to assess the extent of fires in the 2022 summer fire season.

    Analysis of the fire life cycle is best done with high temporal sampling. For larger fires exceeding 30 MW of released power, products derived from Meteosat geostationary satellites such as LSA SAF FRP give us enhanced measurements every 15 minutes. There are two datasets available within the FRP product: FRP list product and FRP quality flag:

    • FRP list product provides information on actively burning fires inside the pixel: geographic location, fire radiative power in MW and fire confidence. One can also find information on uncertainty, background thermal anomaly temperatures etc. More can be found in the Product user manual (PUM).
    • FRP quality product is available for the entire MSG disk area categorising each pixel as: fire or non-fire event, cloudy pixel or non processed data. This can be very helpful for determining whether there are any issues with the detection of fires.

    Fig 1. Fire pixels as indicated by LSA SAF FRP are displayed for June-September 2022 over the area enclosed by the box. Animation displays cumulative fire events with weekly increments. Dots indicate all the fires that occurred inside the pixels and are coloured according to the released radiative power in MW.

    Fig 2. Fire pixels as indicated by LSA SAF FRP are displayed for June-September 2022 over the area enclosed by the box. Animation displays the fire situation for every week in the summer period. Dots indicate all the fires that occurred inside the pixels and are coloured according to the released radiative power in MW.

    Fig. 1 shows all detected fire spots cumulatively with weakly increases in June – September 2022. For the same period, Fig. 2 shows fires separately for each weak. It can be observed how the fires are moving from North Italy towards the Iberian peninsula and back, intensifying towards NW and W direction during July’s heat wave. The patterns collocate with heat waves and drought periods as seen in Copernicus Climate. The area with most intense fire activity is the Mediterranean Region, particularly Portugal, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Croatia. The ongoing fires in the south and east of Ukraine are a consequence of war activities. According to the released power the majority of detected fires are small fires with lower fire radiative power. However, there are also a few large fires with over 2000 MW of released power inside the satellite pixel. For a comparison, such power is comparable to the output of the large nuclear power plants.

    The LSA SAF FRP product is highly beneficial for monitoring fire evolution, fire periodicity and spatial patterns in time. The fire products derived from Meteosat Third Generation geostationary satellite with improved temporal and spatial resolution will be even more useful for analysing and monitoring fires, especially small fires.