Satellite-borne sensors can detect fires in the visible, thermal and mid-infrared bands. Active fires can be detected by their thermal or mid-infrared signature during the day or by the light from the fires at night. For their detection the sensors must also provide frequent overflights, and the data from the overflights must be available fast. Satellite systems that have been evaluated for fire detection include AVHRR, which has a thermal sensor and makes daily overflights, the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Optical Linescan System (OLS) sensor, which makes daily overflights and routinely collects visible images during its nighttime pass, and the NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) sensor, which provides visible and thermal images every 15 minutes over the United States and every 30 minutes elsewhere. Therefore AVHRR has been used most extensively for detecting and monitoring wildfires.
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