Since 1999, the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of the Biodiversity (CONABIO) in Mexico has been developing and managing the "Operational program for the detection of hot-spots using remote sensing techniques". This program uses images from the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard the Terra and Aqua satellites and from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA-AVHRR), which are operationally received through the Direct Readout station (DR) at CONABIO. This allows the near-real time monitoring of fire events in Mexico and Central America. In addition to the detection of active fires, the location of hot spots are classified with respect to vegetation types, accessibility, and risk to Nature Protection Areas (NPA). Besides the fast detection of fires, further analysis is necessary due to the considerable effects of forest fires on biodiversity and human life. This fire impact assessment is crucial to support the needs of resource managers and policy makers for adequate fire recovery and restoration actions. CONABIO attempts to meet these requirements, providing post-fire assessment products as part of the management system in particular for satellite-based burnt area mapping. This paper provides an overview of the main components of the operational system and will present an outlook to future activities and system improvements, especially the development of a burnt area product. A special focus will also be placed on the fire occurrence within NPAs of Mexico. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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