NASA tools, applications and research can help organizations better manage fires before, during, and after they occur. Whether you’re a researcher, concerned citizen or decision maker, our resources can help you gain a deeper understanding of wildfires throughout their lifecycle. The tools, resources and data available below are valuable aids for managing fire in all its stages. For this competition, some aspect of existing NASA capabilities, assets, or resources must be utilized within your proposal.
NASA EJ and Wildfire Resources
The NASA Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Program’s Environmental Justice Data Catalog is your guide to datasets that may be useful in environmental justice research. Datasets are organized based on their environmental justice indicator (such as disasters, urban flooding, extreme heat, and food availability) and the possible use cases for each dataset.
- Dedicated Programs:
- NASA Applied Sciences Wildland Fires Program Area
Description: The Wildland Fires program area uses Earth observations to help communities manage the impacts of fires. The program provides applications and tools to arm decision makers with the information they need to act. The Wildfires program area collaborates with decision makers, providing them with applications and tools based on NASA’s wealth of Earth observations. The goal is so they can help communities manage the impacts of fire. It is also part of a network of collaborators working to reduce wildfire risks before, during and after events.
- NASA Equity and Environmental Justice (EEJ)
Description: NASA’s EEJ program helps ensure Earth data can benefit everyone, regardless of race, color, national origin or income. We help communities across the U.S. make informed decisions about issues affecting them. The program also builds new partnerships to support community outreach, training, and information and tools that use Earth observations. We aim to create opportunities for people to get involved with Earth observations. This empowers them with enhanced tools to inform and protect their community.
- Wildfires Data Pathfinder
Description: This Data Pathfinder is designed to help guide you through the process of selecting and using datasets applicable to wildfires, with guidance on resolutions and direct links to the data sources.
- Wildfire Earthdata Topic Page
Description: NASA's Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Program provides unrestricted access to data, services, and tools that enable resource managers, disaster management teams, and scientists to understand and monitor environmental conditions before a fire starts, measure the intensity and development of fires during a burn, and assess the environmental and socioeconomic impacts after a burn.
- EJ Data Catalog
Description: The NASA Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Program’s Environmental Justice Data Catalog is your guide to datasets that may be useful in environmental justice research. Datasets are organized based on their environmental justice indicator (such as disasters, urban flooding, extreme heat, and food availability) and the possible use cases for each dataset.
- Applied Remote Sensing Training (ARSET) Program
Description: ARSET offers trainings, both online and in-person, for beginners and advanced practitioners alike. Trainings cover a range of datasets, web portals, and analysis tools and their application for multiple thematic areas. Since 2009, the program has reached over 95,000 participants from 180 countries and more than 17,000 organizations worldwide. Thematic areas include, ecological conservation, water resources, climate and resilience, health and air quality, disasters, wildland fires, and agriculture. Visit the link above to explore the full catalog, below are some relevant trainings:
- Wildfires Data Toolkit
Description: NASA provides data, services, and tools that enable resource managers, disaster management teams, and scientists to understand and monitor environmental conditions before a fire starts, measure the intensity and development of fires as they are burning, and assess the effects and impacts of wildfires.
- Webinar: Getting Started with MODIS Thermal Anomalies and Fire Data (three-part series)
Description: This video focuses on the NASA Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC).
Part 1: Information about the MODIS Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data products, changes between the Version 5 and Version 6 products, and how to access the data using NASA’s Earthdata Search is provided.
Part 2: Information about the MODIS Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data products, the thematic fire mask classes, and using a color map to visualize fires will be provided.
Part 3: Information about MODIS Thermal Anomalies and Fire quality information, including how to decode quality bits, tools for working with quality data, and where to find additional information, will be provided.
- Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS)
Description: The Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) provides access, with minimal delay, to satellite imagery, active fire/hotspots, and related products to identify the location, extent and intensity of wildfire activity. FIRMS tools and applications provide geospatial data, products and services to support the broader fire management community, and to inform the general public. Global data are available within 3 hours of satellite observation; U.S. and Canada active fire detections are available in real-time.
Webinar: Discover NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) (This webinar provides a brief explanation of FIRMS data sources and an overview of FIRMS services, highlights new features recently added to the FIRMS Fire Map, and discusses some caveats that should be considered when using data available through FIRMS)
- NASA FireSense
Description: The NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) FireSense project is focused on delivering NASA’s unique Earth science and technological capabilities to operational agencies, striving towards measurable improvement in US wildland fire management. The NASA SMD FireSense project is part of a larger NASA wide Wildland Fire Initiative involving SMD, the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), and the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).
- VEDA EJ Discovery Area
Description: The VEDA Dashboard currently has seven Thematic Areas, each of which is comprised of Discoveries and Datasets. Life Cycle of a Fire, Unraveling the Components of Coastal Risk, A New View of the Global Water Cycle, and A New NASA Model Brings Open Science to Target Water Quality Problems are new Discoveries in the VEDA Earth Information Systems (EIS) Thematic Area; Implications for Heat Stress is a Discovery added to the VEDA Environmental Justice (EJ) Thematic Area. All five Discoveries draw on data openly available through NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS).
- EJ Data Backgrounder
Description: Backgrounders are informational articles providing a deeper explanation of key topics in Earth science to aid in understanding data and data use: Health and air quality, GIS, EJ at NASA, Nighttime lights, Passive sensors, Active sensors, What is data latency, SDG, What is synthetic aperture radar, Essential variables, What is remote sensing.
- MAIA-TEMPO Environmental Justice Workshop
Description: The NASA TEMPO and MAIA satellite missions are hosting a one-day workshop on August 5, 2022 focusing on matters of air quality environmental justice. The Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) and Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA) missions will offer unprecedented satellite-based detail on emission sources and air pollutants at the community level, revolutionizing how we can use satellite data for impactful health and air quality applications, such as environmental justice issues. The MAIA and TEMPO missions and the NASA Applied Sciences Program want to ensure the freely available data from the two missions will be of maximum possible utility to all user groups, including those working in environmental justice.
- UNBOUND for Environmental Justice
Description: NASA's Understanding Needs to Broaden Outside Use of NASA Data (UNBOUND) project seeks to make NASA data, tools, and resources more usable and accessible to a broader community, and environmental justice is one of several high-priority domains identified by NASA’s Earth Science Division. The four-session environmental justice-themed workshop was an opportunity for organizations from various communities and disciplines to learn about and help improve NASA Earth science products and services.
- UNBOUND Air Quality
Description: Air quality is an important focus area of NASA's Earth Science Division (ESD). The UNBOUND for Air Quality (UNBOUND AQ) workshops were focused on identifying how to make NASA data products more discoverable and suitable for analyses to address air quality needs. The workshop was a collaboration between ESDS and Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP).
- Wildfire Projects:
Satellite Earth Observations
Assessment of Wildland Fire-Related Environmental Exposure Issues Impacting Vulnerable Populations in California
Dr. Joseph L. Wilkins, Dr. Miriam Marlier
Wildfires; Air Quality; Heat
- Suomi NPP (VIIRS)
Can remote data connect us to the land? A landscape analysis for braiding satellite-based information and indigenous knowledge in California
Jeanne Fernandez (MSc), Bart Wickel (PhD)
Wildfires; Heat; Water
- MODIS Aqua and Terra
- VIIRS (NPP)
- Landsat 5-9
Assessing accessibility, inequities, and barriers using NASA and other wildfire communication tools in Environmental Justice communities
Kerry Grimm, Rachell Mitchell, Temuulen Tsagaan
- NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS)
Spatial decision support for fire management in Indigenous cultural and stewardship practices
Megan Jennings, Doug Stow, Amber Pairis
Data Integration Project
- USGS Landsat Surface Reflectance Data
- USGS Landsat Burned Area Science Product
- SDSU Landsat Herb Cover Product
- NASA MODIS Surface Reflectance Data
Mapping Vulnerable Populations in California to Climate-Related Hazards
Miriam Marlier, Michael Jerrett, Joe Wilkins, Paul English
Data Integration Project
Wildfires; Air Quality; Heat
Supported by Earth observations:
• CMAQ atmospheric model
Project Type Definitions:
Landscape Analysis: Studies that increase NASA’s understanding of the EEJ “landscape.”
- Characterize environmental justice communities and environmental issues they face
- Familiarity/use of Earth observations
- Support planning and investment decisions
- 6-9 months
Feasibility Study: Projects that test ways to address environmental issues facing communities with the help of Earth science information.
- Co-designed with community organizations
- Tailored to community needs
- Test and validate use of Earth observations for local decision making
- 12-18 months
Data Integration Project: Projects that develop sustained use of integrated Earth science, geospatial, and socioeconomic data, tools, and applications to.
- Provide environmental justice communities with insights into community-level management
- Culminate in GIS products for public dissemination.
- 12-24 months
Equity in Wildfire Applications
When developing a wildfire technology or application, it is essential to recognize the inequitable impact of wildfires on marginalized communities. Vulnerable populations, such as BIPOC communities, low-income groups, those with language barriers, elderly people, and those with pre-existing conditions or disabilities, suffer a disproportionate burden of wildfire. These groups have a higher likelihood of exposure, are most sensitive to wildfire impacts, and have a limited ability to reduce or take on risk. As the intensity and frequency of wildfires increase with the progression of climate change, these inequities will only continue to worsen. When developing tools to address wildfire risk it is important to consider the following:
- Barriers to evacuation or actionable response to emergency messaging:
- Lack of access to transportation or internet, language barriers, or lack of awareness or education on wildfires
- Pre-existing vulnerabilities:
- Individuals with respiratory conditions or other pre-existing health issues, as well as the elderly and those with disabilities, are more vulnerable to the health impacts of smoke exposure
- Inequitable access to aid and resources during and after the fire:
- Low income populations may struggle to cover the cost of mitigation measures, health costs associated with smoke exposure, or costs of rebuilding without assistance
It is important to ask, does your product fully capture risk – including vulnerability? If your tool assesses wildfire damage, does it consider social vulnerabilities beyond just economic evaluation? More generally, could your tool be modified to acknowledge/address any of the above inequities?
Community Engagement and Equitable Development
The impacts of wildfires, as well as climate change, are not equitably distributed. Community engagement and equitable development are essential when designing projects to serve the most impacted communities. Active participation of community members and co-development of tools ensures they will be tailored to end-user capabilities and meet the communities’ needs. Ultimately this process will increase the use of these tools in decision-making processes in the communities that need it most and expand their impact. In these projects is important to consider how your team can:
- Identify and meaningfully engage with communities with high wildfire risk
- Uplift and support marginalized communities through sustained equitable partnerships
- Incorporate community feedback, needs, priorities, and capabilities into tool design and business model
When creating climate technology tools, we must evaluate and address the unique needs of all end-users in order to ensure equitable access. Specifically, community organizations that work to address issues related to wildfire may not have the technical expertise to navigate these tools on their own or the funds to bypass paywalls. Despite these barriers, building capacity in these communities is vital to achieving environmental justice. Creating tools that meet the needs of and are accessible to these communities is the first step. While each community’s need will be unique, while designing these tools it is important to consider the following:
- Strategies to provide support for those without tech expertise whether that be through thorough tutorials and documentation or mechanisms to provide technical assistance
- Mobile access to broaden use to those without computers/stable internet connection
- Business models that avoid the use of paywalls/other financial barriers to use
- Methods to increase language accessibility and color accessibility
- Alternative text for those with visual impairments
- Ability to change visual presentation
- Mobile device accessibility