FIRMS FAQ: Email Alerts

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Earthdata - wxedward
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FIRMS FAQ: Email Alerts

by Earthdata - wxedward » Thu Feb 15, 2024 9:37 am America/New_York

Can you notify me when a fire occurs in my area of interest?

We have developed a global fire email alert system to notify users when a fire occurs in or near a specified area of interest, country, or protected area. You can subscribe to receive near-real time, daily, or weekly email alerts in English, Spanish, or French.

To subscribe to, or learn more about the email based alert system, please see the FIRMS Email Alerts page.

Do you provide mobile/cell phone text messages?

We do not currently provide SMS text messages. Previously, we helped develop such a service in collaboration with ESKOM and CSIR Meraka in South Africa for the protection of power lines in remote areas from wildfires by informing operators in the field about fire events in near-real time. For more information see: Davies, D. K., H. F. Vosloo, et al. (2008). Near real-time fire alert system in South Africa: from desktop to mobile service. Proceedings of the 7th ACM conference on Designing interactive systems Cape Town, South Africa ACM: 315-322. doi:10.1145/1394445.1394479

What are the near-real time email alerts?

The fire points are sent out in an email as soon as they are processed by FIRMS. Alerts are sent only if a fire/hotspot was detected. The number of alerts varies according to geographic location: more frequent satellite observations occur at high latitudes. Near real-time alerts are usually sent within 3 hours of satellite observation for fires detected using MODIS aboard Aqua and Terra, and within 4 hours for fires detected using data from VIIRS aboard Suomi NPP and NOAA-20. Near real-time alerts are subscribed to, and managed by, the user just the same way as the daily and weekly detection summaries.

How do I subscribe or edit email alerts?

Go to the FIRMS Email Alerts page.
  1. Enter the email address where you want to receive the email alerts and click “Proceed”.
  2. If you have not yet subscribed you will be asked to enter your Name, Organization, and Country. Click on “Save” after you have entered your information.
  3. You will be taken to the subscription summary page, where the user can create a new subscription or view existing subscriptions. The user can create several subscriptions, and they will be added to their subscription summary profile.
  4. Click on the “Create a New Subscription” link to take the user to the interface to subscribe to an email alert.
    Creating a new subscription:
    • Choose your area of interest. Choose between:
      Custom Region
      Protected Area
    • Customize your email alert by changing your subscription preferences:
      1. Name your alert (optional): You can choose to give your alert a name for you to easily reference.
      2. Output map size: You may choose to receive a map in the email and different sized maps are available.
      3. Background image: This refers to the background image on which the fires will be overlaid in the map in the email.
      4. Language preference: English, Spanish, and French.
      5. Alert type: Daily, Weekly, or Near-Real Time.
        • Daily: Fire detections are sent in a summary email every morning Easter Daylight Time (EDT) with fire detections from the previous 24 hours.
        • Weekly: A week’s worth of fire points detected for the specified area are sent to you on Monday mornings EDT.
        • Near-real time: The fire points are sent out in an email as soon as they are processed by LANCE (within 3 hours of satellite observation). The number of emails varies depending on whether or not there was a fire in the specified area, whether or not it was detected, and the geographical location of the area (there are more frequent observations at high latitudes, and 4 daily observations for most places on the equator).
    • Email preferences: You can choose to receive an email with a map and text or with text only.
    • Attach .CSV file: By default this option is flagged, meaning that the subscriber will also receive a CSV file containing the fire location information.
    • Help with subscription preferences: Clicking on the hyperlinked text of the subscription preferences will open pop-up messages containing the description and usage of the preference.
    • Email confirmation and final subscription: You can choose not to receive an email confirming that you have subscribed successfully to an alert. The final signoff is completed by clicking either “Save Subscription” or “Cancel” (deletes all selections).
    • Subscription confirmations: The successful subscription is identified by two steps, the first of which is the confirmation page and a confirmation email (if this was selected). The confirmation page provides a link to let you return to the ‘Add, view, or edit your subscription’ page.

How do I unsubscribe from an email alert?

Go to the FIRMS Email Alerts page.
  1. Enter the email address where that you want to unsubscribe from and click “Proceed”.
  2. You should see a list of all alerts associated with this email address.
  3. Using the "delete" option on the right hand side of the page, you can unsubscribe the alert. Alternatively, you can change the status of the alert from "active" to "inactive" if you are planning to re-activate the alert in the near future.

I requested a map image with my email alert but I can’t see the map in my email alert, where is it?

Please check the settings in your email client. Your email client may be blocking images from being displayed in your email as a security measure. You will have to enable the choice to view images in your email. Your email client may also be sending the email alert to your spam/junk folder as a security measure; it is likely that you will also not be able to view the map image if the email is in your spam/junk folder. You should add the FIRMS email address and/or email domain to the safe senders list so it will deliver the email to your inbox and display images. You can also view the map by clicking on the link below the map image “View Map Image on FIRMS server”; this will open the map in your browser. Map images are stored for 14 days on the FIRMS server.

I requested a CSV file with my email alert but I can’t see the file attached to my email alert, where is it?

If the number of fires in the alert exceeds 90,000, a link to download the CSV file will be provided instead of an attachment. CSV files are stored for 14 days on the FIRMS server.

I have received a CSV file as part of my Email Alert, can I add it as a layer in a Desktop GIS software?

A CSV (Comma Separated Value) fileis a text file in which separate fields are delimited by commas. This type of file can be used to store simple tabular data efficiently, minimizing file size. CSV files are easily opened with DB administration software such as PostgreSQL or MS Access, or by spreadsheet software such as MS Excel. This type of file can also be used to easily plot point data on desktop GIS software, given, as the active fire data does, that the tabular data contain X and Y coordinate information. The active fire data contains latitude and longitude location coordinates and the attributes of the detected fires.


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