Satellite remote sensing has become a primary data source for fire danger rating prediction, fuel and fire mapping, fire monitoring, and fire ecology research. This paper summarizes the research achievements in these research fields, and discusses the future trend in the use of satellite remote-sensing techniques in wildfire management. Fuel-type maps from remote-sensing data can now be produced at spatial and temporal scales quite adequate for operational fire management applications. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellites are being used for fire detection worldwide due to their high temporal resolution and ability to detect fires in remote regions. Results can be quickly presented on many Websites providing a valuable service readily available to fire agency. As cost-effective tools, satellite remote-sensing techniques play an important role in fire mapping. Improved remote-sensing techniques have the potential to date older fire scars and provide estimates of burn severity. Satellite remote sensing is well suited to assessing the extent of biomass burning, a prerequisite for estimating emissions at regional and global scales, which are needed for better understanding the effects of fire on climate change. The types of satellites used in fire research are also discussed in the paper. Suggestions on what remote-sensing efforts should be completed in China to modernize fire management technology in this country are given.
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