Airborne Campaigns

NASA’s FireSense Project conducts airborne observations over wildland fires and prescription burn areas to evaluate and test new instrumentation and collect both remotely-sensed and in situ data that can inform management decisions and improve fire models. The FireSense project is focused on four uses-cases to improve wildfire management. These include the measurement of pre-fire fuels conditions, active fire dynamics, post fire impacts and threats, as well as air quality forecasting, each co-developed with identified wildfire management agency stakeholders. Starting in the fall of 2023, FireSense will have an annual airborne component where the project will test and develop improved capabilities and technologies for transfer to stakeholders. A larger airborne campaign will take place during year five of the project (2027-2028) to fully demonstrate the technology developed during FireSense.

Data from the FireSense campaigns will be stored in a FireSense data repository developed by FireSense Implementation Team members at NASA Langley. The platform supports storage for documents, text delimited files (csv), geospatial data (point/polygon, geotiff, netcdf, laz,), as well as providing password protection on a government system. This is the same data system that supports other NASA airborne campaigns, including the FIREX-AQ project.

During the fall 2023 deployment, four aircraft were deployed and equipped with active and passive airborne remote sensing instruments to sample vegetation, soil moisture and areas affected by wildland and prescribed fires in the western United States.

The aircraft and instruments included were:

Flight details for the 2023 campaign can be found at the ESPO FireSense website.

Data from the FireSense campaigns will be stored in a FireSense data repository.

Expected data products and potential use are listed. Some additional data products will be added.

Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer 3 (AVIRIS-3)

  • Visible and Short-Wave Infrared (VIS-SWIR)
  • Vegetation Composition, Fire Behavior, Fire Effects

MODIS/ASTER Airborne Simulator (MASTER)

  • Visible, Mid-Wave Infrared, Thermal Infrared (VIS-MWIR-TIR)
  • Fire Radiative Power

Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR)

  • L-Band Active Radar
  • Estimated moisture in vegetation, fuels and soil

Scanning L-band Active Passive (SLAP)

  • L-Band Active & Passive Radar
  • Estimated moisture in fuels and soil

San Jose State University Wildfire Imaging System (SWIS)

  • Visible and Infrared Imagery
  • Fire Dynamics, Radiative Power

B-200/C-20A Meteorological and Navigation data

Field Reports

The 2023 campaign primary observation sites in the Western U.S. include significant airborne flights with complementary ground measurements when possible.