Detection of forest fires in tropical forests using sentinel-3 slstr data

Noel Iván Ulloa, Shou Hao Chiang

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Forest fires are considered a major hazard and environmental issue worldwide. The substantial ecological damage of wildfires is caused by the considerable amounts of greenhouse gases emitted during the biomass burning process, as well as by the changes in the soil properties, thus accelerating the erosion rate. The objective of this study is to detect wildfire events in tropical areas using satellite data acquired by Sentinel-3 Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR), the latest Earth Observation Satellite from the European Space Agency. The SLSTR sensor includes bands dedicated to detect active fire, and thanks to its fast revisit period and high spectral resolution it is suitable for rapid detection of forest fires, in addition to monitoring the recovery of burned forests. For this study, a single forest fire event that took place in the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve, Nicaragua, during April 3-13th of 2018, was selected as the study case. A total of six S3-SLSTR images were downloaded and preprocessed. The images were visualized with different combinations of bands, including those specific for active fire detection. Additionally, optical images from MODIS and Sentinel-2 were also acquired and compared to the S3-SLSTR, in terms of fire detection capabilities. The results indicate that S3-SLSTR imagery is capable of detecting active fire events in remote areas. Despite its coarse resolution of 500 m, S3 is a valuable addition to emergency response and disaster management team's toolkit, who will definitely benefit from the fire-monitoring optimized images. Moreover, a twin Sentinel-3 satellite was launched on April 25, 2018, meaning that the twin S3 satellites could be employed the monitor wildfires on daily basis, even in remote areas of the tropical region.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2018
Event39th Asian Conference on Remote Sensing: Remote Sensing Enabling Prosperity, ACRS 2018 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Duration: 15 Oct 201819 Oct 2018


Conference39th Asian Conference on Remote Sensing: Remote Sensing Enabling Prosperity, ACRS 2018
CityKuala Lumpur


  • Protected areas.
  • Sentinel 3
  • Wildfire


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