FWS Fire Atlas

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Atlases of fire perimeters were created for fires occurring on U.S. National Wildlife Refuges from 1984 through 2013. Fire Atlas perimeter data provide information to refuge managers as they plan land management activities for their units.

Data provided by FWS included fire names, discovery date, a single point location, whether the ignition was planned or unplanned, and the number of acres burned.  These attributes were used to help determine where the fire burned on the landscape.  Satellite imagery was then used to detect and delineate the burn scars.  High-resolution imagery and refuge maps were also used to link the provided point reference data to the individual burns.  The completed perimeter maps were aggregated for each refuge into a complete atlas.

Fire Atlas creation has been completed for all requested refuges.  A total of 8,516 fires were mapped within 93 FWS units across the US.


Fire perimeters are captured as quickly as possible after fire containment is visible in the imagery.

Data Access

Data Available

1983 - 2014


These products support US FWS land managers in planning activities for their units.

Mapping Method

Landsat reflectance, Normalized Burn Ratio, and Normalized Differenced Vegetation Index imagery are used to locate fire scars.  Fire perimeters are then digitized from the imagery for each fire and all products for each refuge are bundled into a complete fire atlas.


  • Pre , Post, and 1-year post-fire satellite imagery
  • Burn area boundary shapefile
  • Post-fire Normalized Burn Ratio
  • Modeled thematic burned/not-burned product (not available for all atlases)