Scientists at the USGS Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center in Denver, Colorado, have led the development and validation of the Landsat Burned Area products. The algorithm producing the products identifies burned areas in Landsat images that have a spatial resolution of 30 meters (m) and a temporal resolution of 16 days or more, depending on cloud cover. Fires are frequently unreported; consequently, existing fire databases are often incomplete. Furthermore, these databases often have location errors and records may be duplicated. The Landsat Burned Area products provide new and unique information about spatial and temporal patterns of fire occurrence that existing fire databases may lack, especially in areas such as the shrub and grassland ecosystems in the Great Plains and in the western and southeastern United States. In 2017, version 1 of the Landsat Burned Area path/row products were produced for 1984–2015 for the conterminous United States (CONUS) and released online (https://doi.org/10.5066/F73B5X76). In 2018, the USGS research team developed version 2 based on the Landsat Analysis Ready Data (ARD) for 1984–2017, and the version 2 products will be delivered through EarthExplorer (https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/). Routine processing and delivery of 2018+ Landsat Burned Area products are expected to begin in the fall of 2018.
Left: Map showing burned areas identified by the Landsat Burned Area Essential Climate Variable products for CONUS between 1985 and 2015. Right: Graph showing annual area burned (square kilometer per year) in CONUS from the Landsat Burned Area Essential Climate Variable mapping.