EU Science Hub

Monitoring fires in protected areas worldwide

Dec 02 2013

Between 3.5 and 4.5 million square kilometres of land surface are burnt every year. More than half of this burnt surface is in Africa, which has more than 6000 protected areas across 50 countries.

The Joint Research Centre today launched a web tool to monitor the fire activity in protected areas worldwide. This tool provides historical and near real-time information on the fire occurrence, duration and location, and on the burnt area by land-cover type. Data are available in the form of maps, graphs, statistics and tables.

This fire monitoring tool is on-line accessible to all. It has been particularly designed for park managers and scientists working in protected areas, to help them understand the effects of fire and to improve its management and control. Since fire plays an important ecological role in many ecosystems, monitoring and understanding its activity is essential for the management and conservation of protected areas. The tool can also be used to reinforce action taken against illegal activities such as poaching, which are often associated with fires.

Covering more than a decade from late 2000 to present, the fire monitoring tool uses web services developed at the JRC and satellite-borne data distributed by the Fire Information for Resource Management System of NASA (NASA-FIRMS) and the University of Maryland. It includes all the protected areas listed in the World Database on Protected Areas of the United Nations Environment Programme, World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC).