Chand, TRK, Badarinath, KV, Prasad, VK, Murthy, MSR, Elvidge, CD, Tuttle, BT (2006). Monitoring forest fires over the Indian region using Defense Meteorological Satellite Program-Operational Linescan System nighttime satellite data. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 103(2), 165-178.

Monitoring and management of forest fires is very important in countries like India where 55% of the total forest cover is prone to fires annually. The present study aims at effective monitoring of forest fires over the Indian region using Defense Meteorological Satellite Program-Operational Linescan System (DMSP-OLS) nighttime satellite data and to evaluate the active fire detection capabilities of the sensor. Nightly DMSP-OLS fire products were generated from February to May 2005 (peak fire season) and analyzed to study the occurrence and behavior of fires over different forest physiognomies in Indian region. Fire products generated from DMSP-OLS were validated with ground observations of fire records from state forest departments to evaluate the accuracy of fire products. Further, inter-comparison of the DMSP-OLS derived fire products with contemporary fire products from Moderate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) (both daytime and nighttime products) in addition to fires and burnt areas derived from Indian Remote sensing Satellite (IRS-P6) Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS) data has been done to analyze spatial agreement of fire locations given by the above sensors. Results from the DMSP-OLS fire products (derived from February to May 2005) over Indian region showed high forest fires in southern dry deciduous forests during February-March; central Indian dry and mixed deciduous forests during March-April; northeastern tropical forests during February-April and northern pine forests during May. Spatial pattern in fires showed a typical seasonal shift in fire activity from the southern dry deciduous forests to the northern pine forests and temperate forests as the fire season progressed. Statistical evaluation of DMSP-OLS fire products with ground observations showed an over all accuracy of 98%. Comparison of DMSP-OLS derived fires with consecutive MODIS and AWiFS derived fires for individual days indicated that 69% of the fires continued from current day (DMSP-OLS pass around similar to 7pm to similar to 10pm local time) to the next day (MODIS and AWiFS pass similar to 10:30am local time). Comparison of DMSP-OLS derived fires with burnt areas estimated from AWiFS showed that 98% of DMSP-OLS derived fires on the current day fell within the burnt area of AWiFS on subsequent day. Since the worst forest fires are those that extend from the current to the consecutive days, DMSP-OLS derived fires provide a valuable augmentation to the fires derived from other sensors operating in daytime. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.