Is your forest on fire? Find out on Sentinel-3 Fire Atlas

One shouldn’t be surprised. Everything is on the Net nowadays so why not information about whether your forest is on fire or not? If you live in your forest, you will probably notice if it catches fire. But if you live far away from it, this could be a helpful tool, especially in a dry summer like this. 

Forest on fire

Wildfires seem to be the new normal. We read and hear about them every day in the summer of 2023. Greece, Italy, Spain, Algeria, Tunisia, Hawaii, and Canada are some of the countries that have been struck by vast wildfires this summer. As I recently wrote, we here in Sweden are the lucky ones – this time. 

Stats for Sweden show that we have had a decent wildfire situation since the brutal 2018. Source:

But in general, we get more and more wildfires every year. 

Is it your forest that’s on fire? Photo: Malachi Brooks,

Satellite watch

ESA has a new version of its World Fire Atlas called Sentinel-3 World Fire Atlas

The new Sentinel-3 WFA measures the temperature on the ground at night and counts pixels that are affected by the fire. You can follow the development of fires in the World or a chosen region at night with a two-day delay and you can get statistics for a selected country like Sweden above and Canada here below. 

The stats for Canada show that 2023 is a bad year when it comes to wildfires. Source:

The precision is ok, I think. I managed to zoom in on my forest estate (Flage on the map below) which is located some 80 kilometers from where I live. Up until two days ago, there were no fires there.

My forest seems to be ok. Source:

Useful statistics

It would of course be even better if you could follow the development in real time rather than seeing that your forest was ok two days ago. Maybe that’s about to come in the next version. 

But the statistics are interesting. When looking at Canada on the chart above, it’s clear that this year is the worst in a long time. More than twice as many wildfires by August 2023 compared to 2017/18. 

If we look at the chart for the World, we see a similar development. Not as brutal as in Canada but still, the curve is going in the wrong direction for the moment. There is no need to discuss if the climate changes, it does, but it could, and should be discussed why. 

The wildfire stats for the World points in the wrong direction. Source:


Oh, didn’t we have a better life before the Net? There is so much information that we didn’t know that we needed, and as we didn’t know … we didn’t need … because we didn’t know … 

Well, also old people like me would probably get problems if the Net disappeared. The services that others made for us, that we now do ourselves online, don’t exist anymore. Or, more correctly, the people who did the services are no longer there. 

To scroll around on sites like the ones mentioned in this article is interesting, or even fun. But do we really need them? 

Yes, if it makes it possible to keep an eye on things (like your forest) from a distance, preferably in real time. 

Yes, to make interesting statistics available for everyone. 

I guess the yes side won this time. And I admit that considering the development of wildfires this could be very helpful tools in the future, but they need some more polishing on the details. 

Other similar services

There are at least a couple of services online where wildfires can be detected. E.g., NASA has a similar service called FIRMS, Fire Information for Resource Management System.

I said (and wrote) it before – the future is exciting. 

(Now I must give my cousin, who lives in our forest, a call to make sure it’s still not on fire) 

Sources: ESA and NASA

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