Kganyago, M; Shikwambana, L (2020). Assessment of the Characteristics of Recent Major Wildfires in the USA, Australia and Brazil in 2018-2019 Using Multi-Source Satellite Products. REMOTE SENSING, 12(11), 1803.

This study analysed the characteristics of the recent (2018-2019) wildfires that occurred in the USA, Brazil, and Australia using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) active fires (AF), fire radiative power (FRP, MW) and burned area (BA) products. Meteorological and environmental parameters were also analysed. The study found various patterns in the spatial distribution of fires, FRP and BA at the three sites, associated with various vegetation compositions, prevailing meteorological and environmental conditions and anthropogenic activities. We found significant fire clusters along the western and eastern coasts of the USA and Australia, respectively, while vastly distributed clusters were found in Brazil. Across all sites, significant fire intensity was recorded over forest cover (FC) and shrublands (SL), attributed to highly combustible tree crown fuel load characterised by leafy canopies and thin branches. In agreement, BA over FC was the highest in the USA and Australia, while Brazil was dominated by the burning of SL, characteristic of fire-tolerant Cerrado. The relatively lower BA over FC in Brazil can be attributed to fuel availability and proximity to highly flammable cover types such as cropland, SL and grasslands rather than fuel flammability. Overall, this study contributes to a better understanding of wildfires in various regions and the underlying environmental and meteorological causal factors, towards better wildfire disaster management strategies and habitat-specific firefighting.