MTBS Burned Area Boundaries

Dataset Availability
Dataset Provider
Earth Engine Snippet
eros fire gtac mtbs usda usfs usgs wildfire


The Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) burned area boundaries dataset contains the extent polygons of the burned areas of all currently completed MTBS fires for the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

Below NBR stands for "Normalized Burn Ratio", while dNBR stands for "delta NBR", or "PreFire NBR - PostFire NBR".

Notes on the threshold values:

  • dNBR is used when available, but sometimes NBR must be used.
  • NBR and dNBR, in this situation, have an inverse relationship
  • Therefore, thresholds are determined based both on the type of incoming data and the range of the data
  • The 9999 and -9999 values are fill values representing the cases when an analyst did not use a threshold (for example, a low severity incident would not warrant the use of a high severity threshold).
  • In some cases values of 999 and -999 were entered (instead of 9999 and -9999). Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) is an interagency program whose goal is to consistently map the burn severity and extent of large fires across all lands of the United States from 1984 to present. This includes all fires 1000 acres or greater in the western United States and 500 acres or greater in the eastern Unites States. The extent of coverage includes the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

The program is conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) and the USDA Forest Service Geospatial Technology and Applications Center (GTAC). MTBS was first enacted in 2005, primarily to meet the information needs of the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC). The primary objective at that time was to provide data to the WFLC for monitoring the effectiveness of the ten-year National Fire Plan. The scope of the program has grown since inception and provides data to a wide range of users. These include national policy-makers such as WFLC and others who are focused on implementing and monitoring national fire management strategies; field management units such as national forests, parks and other federal and tribal lands that benefit from the availability of GIS-ready maps and data; other federal land cover mapping programs such as LANDFIRE which utilizes burn severity data in their own efforts; and academic and agency research entities interested in fire severity data over significant geographic and temporal extents.

MTBS data are freely available to the public and are generated by leveraging other national programs including the Landsat satellite program, jointly developed and managed by the USGS and NASA. Landsat data are analyzed through a standardized and consistent methodology, generating products at a 30 meter resolution dating back to 1984. One of the greatest strengths of the program is the consistency of the data products which would be impossible without the historic Landsat archive, the largest in the world.

You can visit the MTBS Project Website for more information.

You can also visit the MTBS Data Explorer to learn more and interact with the data.

Table Schema

Table Schema

Name Type Description
Asmnt_Type STRING

Assessment Type: Which mapping strategy is being used?

"SS" means "Single Scene", or a mapping where just a post-fire image was used.

  • Initial
  • Extended
  • Initial (SS)
  • Extended (SS)
BurnBndAc INT

Burn boundary acreage.


Latitude for burned area boundary centroid.


Longitude for burned area boundary centroid.

Comment STRING

Comments for delineated perimeter.

dNBR_offst INT

dNBR offset calculated by the analyst.

dNBR_stdDv INT

Standard deviation offset calculated by the the analyst.


Unique identifier for each event (21 characters). Calculated from source data (ICS209, FedFire, etc.) each time an event is created or updated using the state, lat/long coordinates (ig_lat, ig_long). Note that for longitudes less than 100° a leading zero is added to maintain 21 characters.

High_T INT

High threshold: dNBR values above which, or NBR values below which a fire is considered High Severity by the analyst.

Ig_Date INT

Date of ignition in Unix Epoch Time (the number of milliseconds since 1970-01-01T00:00:00Z).

IncGreen_T INT

Increased greenness threshold: dNBR values above which, or NBR values below which an area is considered to have Increased greenness by the analyst.

Incid_Name STRING

Incident Name: common name of the event or "UNNAMED".

Incid_Type STRING

Type of event:

  • Wildfire
  • Prescribed Fire
  • Wildland Fire Use
  • Unknown

Unique, alphanumeric identifier assigned to each incident record in IRWIN or an empty string.


Low threshold: dNBR values above which, or NBR values below which a fire is considered Low Severity by the analyst.


Mapping ID (ID for a specific mapping activity).


Map Program: which program was this mapping activity completed by? E.g., MTBS'


Moderate threshold: dNBR values above which, or NBR values below which a fire is considered Moderate Severity by the analyst.

NoData_T INT

Threshold for no data: dNBR values above which, or NBR values below which a fire is considered to represent No Data by the analyst.


Scene ID for perimeter scene. Perimeter scenes are scenes selected to help the analyst better identify the fire perimeter. Perimeter scenes are only selected when pre-fire and post-fire scenes are not sufficient to define a perimeter.


Scene ID for pre-fire scene. If a pre-fire scene was not available at the time of mapping, the mapping analyst uses NBR from the post-fire scene to calculate severity.


Scene ID for pre-fire scene or an empty string.

Terms of Use

Terms of Use

The USDA Forest Service makes no warranty, expressed or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, nor assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, reliability, completeness or utility of these geospatial data, or for the improper or incorrect use of these geospatial data. These geospatial data and related maps or graphics are not legal documents and are not intended to be used as such.

The data and maps may not be used to determine title, ownership, legal descriptions or boundaries, legal jurisdiction, or restrictions that may be in place on either public or private land. Natural hazards may or may not be depicted on the data and maps, and land users should exercise due caution. The data are dynamic and may change over time. The user is responsible to verify the limitations of the geospatial data and to use the data accordingly. These data were collected using funding from the U.S. Government and can be used without additional permissions or fees. If you use these data in a publication, presentation, or other research product please use the following citation: USDA Forest Service/US Geological Survey. Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity Thematic Burn Severity. Salt Lake City, Utah/Sioux Falls, South Dakota


  • USDA Forest Service;US Geological Survey. Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity Thematic Burn Severity. Salt Lake City, Utah;Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Explore with Earth Engine

Code Editor (JavaScript)

var dataset = ee.FeatureCollection('USFS/GTAC/MTBS/burned_area_boundaries/v1');

var visParams = {
  fillColor: 'ff8a50',
  color: 'ff5722',
  width: 1.0,

Map.setCenter(-122.2988, 38.8766, 10);
Map.addLayer(dataset, visParams, 'USFS/GTAC/MTBS/burned_area_boundaries/v1');
Open in Code Editor

Visualize as a FeatureView

A FeatureView is a view-only, accelerated representation of a FeatureCollection. For more details, visit the FeatureView documentation.

Code Editor (JavaScript)

var fvLayer = ui.Map.FeatureViewLayer(

var visParams = {
  color: 'ff5722',
  fillColor: 'ff8a50',
  width: 2,
  opacity: 0.8


Map.setCenter(-122.2988, 38.8766, 10);
Open in Code Editor