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Landsat Collection 2 Level-3 Burned Area Science Product

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

Return to Landsat Burned Area Products Overview

Return to Landsat Science Products Overview

 

The Landsat Collection 2 (C2) Level-3 Burned Area (BA) science product is designed to identify burned areas across all ecosystems (e.g., forests, shrublands, and grasslands) for Landsat 4-8 data, containing two acquisition-based raster layers that represent burn classification and burn probability. Landsat C2 BA is generated from Landsat C2 U.S.  Analysis Ready Data (ARD) Surface Reflectance and Top of Atmosphere Brightness Temperature data.

Example of the Landsat Collection 2 Burned Area Science Product
Example of the Landsat Collection 2 Burned Area Science Product showing the Bootleg Fire in Oregon on July 11, 2021 for tile h006V010. Left: Landsat 8 Collection 2 U.S. Analysis Ready Data Surface Reflectance image (Bands 6,5,4), Middle: Burn Classification (BC), and Right: Burn Probability (BP).

Landsat C2 BA science products are processed to 30-meter spatial resolution in Albers Equal Area (AEA) projection using the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS84) datum and gridded to the ARD tiling scheme consisting of fixed 5000-meter squared non-overlapping tiles.

NOTE: this page provides basic information about the Landsat C2 BA science products.  Please refer to the Landsat Collection 2 Level-3 Burned Area Data Format Control Book for more descriptive information. 

Product Availability

The Landsat C2 BA science product is available for the conterminous United States for the following date ranges:

  • Landsat 8 OLI: April 2013 to present
  • Landsat 7 ETM+: July 1999 to April 2022
  • Landsat 5 TM: March 1984 to May 2012
  • Landsat 4 TM: March 1982 to September 1992

Landsat 9 C2 BA science products will become available later in 2022.

NOTE: C2 BA processing takes place on the 14th and 28th of each month. C2 BA products become available within 4 hours of processing. 

The map below displays the C2 ARD tile-based coverage of Landsat C2 BA science products.

Landsat Collection 2 Level-3 Burned Area Extent Map

Collection 2 Burned Area Products Improvements

While no major changes were made from C1 to C2 BA, the following updates were made:

  • Added a new Browse file to the BA product package
  • Corrected a bug discovered in C1 where pixels in the top row (northern edge) and left column (western edge) of the Landsat U.S. ARD tile were incorrectly classified as not-burned in the BC layer
  • Modification to allow BA to grow in a diagonal direction vs. just up/down and sideways
  • Retrained the model due to the Python 3 upgrade, which caused some very minor differences in the outputs

Package Content

The C2 Burned Area package includes two acquisition-based raster layers that represent burn classification and burn probability, along with a browse file and the product metadata (XML and JSON file format). The files included in C2 Burned Area acquisition-based products are listed and shown in the table below.

  • Burn Probability (BP)Raster layer: 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: tileID_BP.TIF
  • Burned Classification (BC) – Raster layer: Indicates if an area was burned by applying a threshold to the BP product.
    Delivered file name: tileID_BC.TIF
  • Browse File – A false color composite (SWIR2/NIR/Green), BP, and BC plots are provided as one quick-look image for visual inspection of BA performance.
    Delivered file name: tileID.png
  • Metadata  – XML file: Metadata file
    Delivered file name: tileID_BA.XML
File Specifications of Collection 2 Burned Area Products
Band Name
Description
Data
Type
Units

Range
/ Valid Range

Fill
Value
Scale
Factor
/ Offset
BP
Burn Probability
UINT8 Percent/
Flag
0-255 255 N/A
BC
Burn Classification
UINT8 Flag 0-255 255 N/A

Caveats and Constraints

In addition to the caveats listed on the Landsat C2 ARD and Surface Reflectance web pages, please note the following:

  • Only images with a RMSE less than 10 m and cloud cover less than 80 percent are processed to a BA product.
  • Some burned areas are occasionally flagged as water in BA products. If the input Level 2 Pixel QA (QA_PIXEL) band has flagged a pixel as “water, terrain, low-confidence cloud”, it will likely be flagged as water in the Burn Probability (BP) and Burn Classification (BC) bands. This usually happens when there are terrain shadows within the burned area.
  • The product metadata files (.xml or .json) lists the band information for both the burn classification and burn probability. The metadata also lists the band information for the input Landsat U.S. ARD tile used to generate the BA science product. 
  • C2 BA products are processed on the 14th and 28th of each month due to processing constraints - this will cause a delay of data becoming available up to 14 days.

Data Access

Landsat Burned Area products are available for download from EarthExplorer and through the commercial cloud

In EarthExplorer the data are located under the Landsat category, Landsat Collection 2 Level-3 Science Products subcategory, and listed as Landsat 4-8 C2 Burned Area.

Visit the Landsat Data Access webpage for additional information about cloud access and bulk download options.  

Documentation

Landsat Collection 2 Level-3 Burned Area Data Format Control Book 

Landsat Collection 2 Level-3 Burned Area Algorithm Description Document  

Landsat Collection 2 Burned Area Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.5066/P999KPGS

Citation Information

There are no restrictions on the use of Landsat Collection 2 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 Collection 2 Level 3 Burned Area (BA) Science Product courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Hawbaker, T.J., Vanderhoof, M.K., Schmidt, G.L., Beal, Y.-J., Picotte, J.J., Takacs, J.D., Falgout, J.T., Dwyer, J.L., 2020. The Landsat Burned Area algorithm and products for the United States. Remote Sensing of the Environment 244. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2020.111801

References

Hawbaker, T.J., Vanderhoof, M.K., Schmidt, G.L., Beal, Y.-J., Picotte, J.J., Takacs, J.D., Falgout, J.T., Dwyer, J.L., 2020. The Landsat Burned Area algorithm and products for the United States. Remote Sensing of the Environment 244. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2020.111801

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