National Park Service

When requested by an NPS unit, or interagency partner program, USGS EROS has mapped wildland fires that are smaller than those mapped by the Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity program (MTBS); MTBS maps fires 1,000 acres or greater in the western United States and 500 acres or greater in the eastern United States.  These mapped smaller fires are mostly on NPS lands and are available through this Burn Severity Portal.  Mapping methods and deliverables are the same for these small fires as for MTBS large fires.

Use the interactive viewer (see Data Access below) to display all fires that have been mapped on NPS lands by selecting MTBS and NPS in the “Filter by Product” drop down menu. A few NPS units have mapped most of their small fires since 1984. Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park, and Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve are good examples of Park Service units that have mapped all large (MTBS) and most small (NPS) fires since 1984.

In addition, some NPS units have fire atlases created for them that contain all known fires less than the MTBS size criteria since 1984.  The same methods are followed, and deliverables created as the requested small fires.  All the individual small fires and MTBS fires are part of these atlases and are available by using the Fire Atlas Direct Download as well as the Interactive Viewer.


1 to 18 months after fire containment

Data Available



The NPS mapping serves four primary user groups

  1. Field management units
  2. National and regional offices
  3. Existing databases from other comparable scaled programs
  4. Research and academic entities interested in fire severity

Mapping Method

Burn Severity layers are created by first calculating spectral indices from pre- and post-fire satellite imagery that are sensitive to changes caused by fire.  The two images are then subtracted showing the difference between them which is then thresholded into burn severity classes.


  • Pre- and post-fire satellite imagery
  • Burn area boundary shapefile
  • Differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR) and Relativized dNBR (continuous)
  • 6-class thematic thresholded dNBR
  • Metadata
  • Visualization products