Landsat Science Products

Landsat Burned Area

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Landsat Burned Area Example

Left: Landsat Surface Reflectance image (Landsat 7 bands 5,4,3) and Right: Derived Burned Area product for an area within Landsat CONUS ARD tile h006v010 acquired on July 7, 2003. 

Accurate and complete data on fire locations and burned areas (e.g. fire occurrence) are needed to quantify trends and patterns of fire occurrence, characterize drivers of fire occurrence, projections of future fire pattern behavior, and help with assessments of fire impacts on both natural and social systems.

The Landsat Burned Area product is designed to identify burned areas across all ecosystems (e.g. forests, shrublands, and grasslands) for Landsat 4-8 data.

The Landsat Burned Area product contains two acquisition-based raster data products that represent burn classification and burn probability. Available for Landsat 4-5 Thematic Mapper (TM), Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) data, Landsat Burned Area products are generated from U.S. Landsat Analysis Ready Data (ARD) Surface Reflectance data.

The Landsat Burned Area product is processed to 30-meter spatial resolution in Albers Equal Area (AEA) projection using the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS84) datum and gridded to a common tiling scheme.

Product Availability

The Landsat Burned Area product is available for the conterminous U.S for the following date ranges:

  • Landsat 8 OLI: April 2013 to December 2017
  • Landsat 7 ETM+: July 1999 to December 2017
  • Landsat 5 TM: March 1984 to May 2012
  • Landsat 4 TM: March 1984 to December 1993

Package Content

The Burned Area product includes two acquisition-based raster data products that represent burn classification and burn probability.  Additional product specifications can be found in the Landsat Burned Area Product Guide. The Burned Area package includes a metadata file in Extensible Markup Language (.xml) format.

The list below describes the products and filenames that are delivered with the Landsat Burned Area package. 

Burn Probability (BP): Provides the maximum per-pixel BP; generated by comparing the current individual acquisition against composites created from seasonal average and the previous year of acquisition.
Delivered file name: *_BP.tif
Approximate file size: 8.3 MB

Burned Classification (BC): Indicates if an area was burned by applying a threshold to the BP product.
Delivered file name: *_BC.tif
Approximate file size: 200 KB

Caveats and Constraints

  • Only images with a RMSE less than 10 m and cloud cover less than 80 percent are processed to a Burned Area product.
  • A Quality Assessment process is applied to the Burned Area products prior to public release, which includes visually assessing each scene-level Burned Area product for excessive commission errors caused by factors such as incorrect cloud masks or poor georeferencing. Therefore, while the majority of Landsat scenes were used to generate Burned Area products, certain scenes may not be able to be processed to produce a scientifically viable Burned Area product.
  • Occasionally some burned areas are incorrectly classified as being water in the Burned Area product. This occurs if the input ARD Pixel QA (PIXELQA) band includes pixels that are flagged as “water, terrain, low-confidence cloud”.
  • The product metadata file (.xml) lists the band information for both the burn classification and burn probability.  The units for the pixel size is “m” and should be “meters” to be compliant with the schema.

User Communities

Landsat Burned Area User Communities
Community Potential Use
Carbon cycling research (e.g., Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Forest Carbon Tracking, USGS Carbon Sequestration) Tracking carbon from living and dead vegetation and coal/humus states into atmospheric states
Wildland resource management agencies and groups (including US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, BLM Alaska Fire Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Fish and Wildlife Service) Planning and management of fire occurrence on managed lands
Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) Locations of burned areas for additional severity analysis
LANDFIRE Fire hazard evaluation, disturbance characterization, change tracking
Fire research (e.g., National Interagency Fire Center, Office of Wildland Fire) 30 meter product of history and extent of fire locations
Agricultural, grasslands, and prairie research (including GEO Agriculture, US Forest Service, Agricultural Research Service,  some Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTER) sites) Grasslands and prairie research, cropland and prairie burning extent, history, and use
Committee on Earth Observations from Space (CEOS) Land  Product Validation Working Group for Burned Area Validation Protocols Validation and/or verification of alternative burned area products
Climate research Tracking of greenhouse gas generation, and fire activity as an indicator or symptom of changes in climate
Global Observation of Forest Cover and Land Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD) Fire management, emissions estimation and smoke trace gas monitoring, the role of fire in the carbon budget, and burned area product validation of other systems

Data Access

Landsat Burned Area products are available for download from EarthExplorerThe data are located under the Landsat category, Landsat Collection 1 Level-3 subcategory, and listed as Burned Area.

Visit the Landsat Data Access web page for information about bulk download options.  

Documentation

Landsat Burned Area Product Guide

Landsat Burned Area Algorithm Description Document (ADD)

Landsat Burned Area Digital Object Identification (DOI): doi.org/10.5066/F77W6BDJ

Citation Information

There are no restrictions on the use of Landsat Level-3 Science Products. It is not a requirement of data use, but the following citations may be used in publication or presentation materials to acknowledge the USGS as a data source and to credit the original research.

Landsat Level 3 Burned Area  Science Product courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Hawbaker, T.J., Vanderhoof, M.K., Beal, Y.-J., Takacs, J.D., Schmidt, G.L., Falgout, J.T., Williams, B., Brunner, N.M., Caldwell, M.K., Picotte, J.J., Howard, S.M., Stitt, S., Dwyer, J.L., 2017a. Landsat Burned Area Essential Climate Variable products for the conterminous United States (1984 -2015). U.S. Geological Survey Data Release. https://doi.org/10.5066/F73B5X76

Hawbaker, T.J., Vanderhoof, M.K., Beal, Y.-J., Takacs, J.D., Schmidt, G.L., Falgout, J.T., Williams, B., Fairaux, N.M., Caldwell, M.K., Picotte, J.J., Howard, S.M., Stitt, S., Dwyer, J.L., 2017b. Mapping burned areas using dense time-series of Landsat data. Remote Sensing of Environment 198, 504–522. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2017.06.027

 

References

Hawbaker, T.J., Vanderhoof, M.K., Beal, Y.-J., Takacs, J.D., Schmidt, G.L., Falgout, J.T., Williams, B., Brunner, N.M., Caldwell, M.K., Picotte, J.J., Howard, S.M., Stitt, S., Dwyer, J.L., 2017a. Landsat Burned Area Essential Climate Variable products for the conterminous United States (1984 -2015). U.S. Geological Survey Data Release. https://doi.org/10.5066/F73B5X76

Hawbaker, T.J., Vanderhoof, M.K., Beal, Y.-J., Takacs, J.D., Schmidt, G.L., Falgout, J.T., Williams, B., Fairaux, N.M., Caldwell, M.K., Picotte, J.J., Howard, S.M., Stitt, S., Dwyer, J.L., 2017b. Mapping burned areas using dense time-series of Landsat data. Remote Sensing of Environment 198, 504–522. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2017.06.027

Vanderhoof, K.M., Brunner, N., Beal, G.Y.-J., Hawbaker, J.T., 2017. Evaluation of the U.S. Geological Survey Landsat Burned Area Essential Climate Variable across the Conterminous U.S. Using Commercial High-Resolution Imagery. Remote Sensing 9. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9070743

Vanderhoof, M.K., Fairaux, N., Beal, Y.-J.G., Hawbaker, T.J., 2017a. Validation of the USGS Landsat Burned Area Essential Climate Variable (BAECV) across the conterminous United States. Remote Sensing of Environment 198, 393–406. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2017.06.025

Vanderhoof, M.K., Fairaux, N.M., Beal, Y.-J., Hawbaker, T.J., 2017b. Data Release for the Validation of the USGS Landsat Burned Area Essential Climate Variable (BAECV) across the conterminous U.S. U.S. Geological Survey Data Release. https://doi.org/10.5066/F7T151VX

 

 

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