By Sofia Soto Reyes

Last year, Indonesia’s fire season was one of the worst on record. As such, vigilance in monitoring weather conditions is crucial. This task has been made easier as GFW Fires recently released a Fire Risk map. Satellite-based data on temperature, humidity, and rainfall is used to estimate how wet or dry tree and plant materials are, resulting in a map that illustrates the driest areas as having the highest risk scores (shown in red), though it is important to note that Fire Risk is based on weather and does not include any human-related fire factors.

In addition to being able to estimate risk, this new layer is also Time Sync enabled. Time Sync allows users the option to sync all time enabled layers, such as the Fire Risk map or the wind direction data, to any past date.

July 2015The Fire Risk Map shows areas across Indonesia and Malaysia with low risk (blue) to high risk (red/purple). Areas with no available data appear in white. Fire alerts are shown as orange dots.

A noteworthy difference between this fire season and the last is the presence of El Niño, a cyclical climate event that, in 2015, raised sea temperatures and created dryer-than-usual conditions. As it is now possible to view areas where fire risk scores were particularly high last year, the opportunity to improve planning and prevention measures for this season is readily accessible.

Time Sync can be enabled by clicking the clock icon in the navigation box on the bottom right of the screen. The adjustment should take just a few seconds, then the change in date will be reflected on all of the time-enabled data layers.

September 2015The Fire Risk Map shows areas across Indonesia and Malaysia with low risk (blue) to high risk (red/purple). Areas with no available data appear in white. Fire alerts are shown as orange dots.

Additionally, there is a 55-60 percent chance of La Niña (El Niño’s inverse counterpart) developing during the fall and winter of this year. As a result, wetter weather conditions could provide an opportunity to bolster preventative measures with a fire season that has the potential to be less intense than last year. So keep a close eye on GFW Fires and the Fire Risk Map! You can even subscribe to GFW Fire alerts that come straight to your phone.

July 2016The Fire Risk Map shows areas across Indonesia and Malaysia with low risk (blue) to high risk (red/purple). Areas with no available data appear in white. Fire alerts are shown as orange dots.

Visit fires.globalforestwatch.org to learn more.