European Earth observation satellites observe forest fire in Doñana National Park in Spain

On 25th of June 2017 a huge forest fire entered Doñana National Park, one of Spain’s most important nature reserves, a tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994. The Doñana wetlands consist of marshes, shallow streams, and sand dunes in the Las Marismas, the Guadalquivir River delta. The protected area is a biodiversity hot spot. The fire occurred in the southern part of the park.

European satellite, as used for the SWOS wetland observation services, observed the spatial expansion of the forest fire. The slider below shows two satellite images slightly before and after the fire event. The fire scars are visible in dark blue color in the false colour composite (RGB 8A-11-12) of the Sentinel-2 image, one of two operational optical Earth observation satellites of the European Copernicus Earth Observation Programe. Healthy vegetation is coloured in red in the visualization. The remaining vital vegetation in the fire scare is visible as red patches in the image.

Up-to-date Earth observation techniques based on free and open satellite data help to analyse fire impacts and provide important spatial information on the ecological status of ecosystems. The SWOS project provides further value adding tools for wetland management such as land cover mapping, change assessment and wetland indicator derivation.