Fire monitoring and reporting tool

The Fire Monitoring, Accounting and Reporting System (FireMARS) is a complex, leading-edge system developed jointly at NRCan by the Canadian Forest Service, and the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (formerly Canada Centre for Remote Sensing) of the Earth Sciences Sector, with support from the Canadian Space Agency.

Boreal crown fire in Ontario. Photo: Brian Stocks

Boreal crown fire in Ontario.
Photo: Brian Stocks

FireMARS provides:

FireMARS includes four key components:

  • The National Burned Area Composite (NBAC), developed by the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation, has been used to map burned areas in Canada since 2004.
  • The Canadian Wildland Fire Information System (CWFIS) monitors daily fire weather and fire behaviour conditions across Canada.
  • The Canadian Fire Effects (CanFIRE) model estimates carbon emissions from combustion.
  • The Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3) models carbon stocks, carbon stock changes, and emissions and removals of greenhouse gases from Canada’s forests.
A map of Canada showing the burned areas mapped annually from NBAC for 2004 to 2016

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Burned areas mapped annually from NBAC for 2004 to 2016

Fire releases significant amounts of carbon and greenhouse gases from Canada’s forests each year. In extreme years, carbon emissions from wildland fires across the country approach the level of emissions from all fossil fuel sources.

With forest fire frequency and severity expected to increase in a changing climate, it is especially important to measure and monitor carbon emissions from fire. NBAC data, fine and coarse spatial resolution satellite data and data from provincial and territorial agencies, are used for estimating emissions in Canada’s National Forest Carbon, Monitoring, Accounting and Reporting System.


A new source of data for FireMARS

FireMARS is investigating new sources of data as they become available. One potential source is NIRST (New Infra-Red Sensor Technology), an experimental satellite sensor technology for identifying smaller fire hotspots.

NIRST is an undertaking between Argentine Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, aimed at using satellites to make direct estimates of wildfire fuel consumption that could result in more efficient estimates of carbon emissions. The data from NIRST have been made available to researchers at NRCan and King’s College London (UK) to develop fire products for the boreal forest.