Detection and validation of tropical Peatland flaming and smouldering using Landsat-8 SWIR and TIRS bands

Parwati Sofan, David Bruce, Eriita Jones, Jackie Marsden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


A Tropical Peatland Combustion Algorithm (ToPeCAl) was first established from Landsat-8 images acquired in 2015, which were used to detect peatland combustion in flaming and smouldering stages. Detection of smouldering combustion from space remains a challenge due to its low temperature and generally small spatial extent. The ToPeCAl consists of the Shortwave Infrared Combustion Index based on reflectance (SICIρ), and Top of Atmosphere (TOA) reflectance in Shortwave Infrared band-7 (SWIR-2), TOA brightness temperature of Thermal Infrared band-10 (TIR-1), and TOA reflectance of band-1, the Landsat-8 aerosol band. The implementation of ToPeCAl was then validated using terrestrial and aerial images (helicopter and drone) collected during fieldwork in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia in the 2018 fire season, on the same day as Landsat-8 overpasses. The overall accuracy of ToPeCAl was found to be 82% with omission errors in a small area (less than 30 m × 30 m) from mixtures of smouldering and vegetation pixels, and commission errors (with minimum area of 30 m x 30 m) on high reflective building rooftops in urban areas. These errors were further reduced by masking and removing urban areas prior to analysis using landuse Geographic Information System (GIS) data; improving the overall mapping accuracy to 93%. For comparison, the day and night-time VIIRS (375 m) active fire product (VNP14IMG) was utilised, obtaining a lower probability of fire detection of 71% compared to ground truth, and 57-72% agreement in a buffer distance of 375 m to 1500 m when compared to the Landsat-8 ToPeCAl results. The night-time data of VNP14IMG was found to have a better correspondence with ToPeCAl results from Landsat 8 than day-time data. This finding could lead to a potential merger of ToPeCAl with VNP14IMG to fill the temporal gaps of peatland fire information when using Landsat. However, the VNP14IMG product exhibited overestimation compared with the results of ToPeCAl applied to Landsat-8.

Original languageEnglish
Article number465
Number of pages28
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


  • Flaming
  • Ground truth
  • Landsat-8
  • Peatland
  • Smouldering
  • SWIR
  • TIR
  • ToPeCAl
  • Tropical
  • Validation
  • VNP14IMG


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