Tracking wildfires through open-source data

by Wim Zwijnenburg

Large wildfires have spread throughout the world in mid-2021, in part attributed to climate change and the direct and long-term risk that it poses to lives, livelihoods, and ecosystems. Tens of thousands of people have had to flee their homes and firefighters have struggled to contain outbreaks in Algeria, Canada, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Mozambique, Russia (Siberia), Turkey, and the United States.

Early warning and monitoring systems are crucial for local authorities, citizens, researchers, and media outlets to rapidly identify and track these wildfires. With the growing availability of open-data remote-sensing platforms, there is a wealth of information available that can be used by interested parties to support their efforts. For open-source intelligence (OSINT) analysts seeking to qualify or quantify both wildfires and burned areas, a knowledge of the most important open-source platforms and datasets – and how to use the data – is therefore crucial.

Trees burn on a hillside behind Honey Lake campground during the Dixie wildfire on 18 August 2021 in Milford, California. The wildfire had burnt more than 626,000 acres of land. (Patrick T Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

Trees burn on a hillside behind Honey Lake campground during the Dixie wildfire on 18 August 2021 in Milford, California. The wildfire had burnt more than 626,000 acres of land. (Patrick T Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

Creating the perfect firestorm


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Taiwan reports underplay ‘hundreds' of PLA aircraft in live-fire drills

by Akhil Kadidal

China's Eastern Theatre Command says it is launching hundreds of aircraft to participate in live-fire drills around Taiwan. (VCG via Getty Images)

China says it is dispatching hundreds of combat aircraft to the six live-fire zones around Taiwan. However, Taipei's daily air incursion reports show smaller figures. Janes assesses that this could partly be because of strains on the country's radar network.

China launched a four-day live-fire exercise around Taiwan from 4 August, in response to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on 2 August.

On the first day of the drills, the People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) Eastern Theatre Command said that it had “dispatched hundreds of fighters, bombers, and other multitype [aircraft] to the airspace in the north, southwest, and southeast of Taiwan Island”.

The PLA added that the aircraft are conducting “day and night” joint reconnaissance flights, air assault training, and support flights. All six live-fire zones are within Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).


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Israeli military threatened UNIFIL ship

by Jeremy Binnie

An Indonesian Navy AS565 helicopter hovers over the Turkish corvette Heybeliada as other vessels serving with the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force follow behind during an exercise on 28 July. (Millî Savunma Bakanlığı)

Israeli aircraft threatened a naval vessel assigned to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon's (UNIFIL's) Maritime Task Force in early June, the latest UN report on the mission's performance revealed.

The threatening behaviour began on 6 June, when six Israeli fighter aircraft manoeuvred near the vessel, launching flares and triggering supersonic bombs. On the following day, six Israeli fighters flew over the same vessel, which “detected the electronic signature of a fire-control radar in lock on mode heading towards it”, according to the report, which was released on 27 July.

The report said the vessel was in the UNIFIL maritime area of operations in the vicinity of the Karish offshore gas field when the incidents occurred.

The field crosses into the expanded exclusive economic zone that Lebanon has claimed since 2011. Israel decided to develop the field before resolving this maritime border dispute, and a floating production, storage, and offloading vessel arrived there on 5 June to start extracting gas.


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Japan, US deploy assets near Taiwan amid Chinese military buildup

by Ridzwan Rahmat

An E-2D Hawkeye launches from USS Ronald Reagan on 2 August in the Philippine Sea. (US Navy)

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the US Navy (USN) have deployed several military assets in the Philippine Sea near Taiwan amid the recent build-up of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) forces around the island.

The deployments include the flagship of the USN's Carrier Strike Group 5, USS Ronald Reagan , and the JMSDF's Murasame-class destroyer, JS Yudachi .

The JMSDF has also deployed an unspecified number of P-3C maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) to monitor the movement of a PLA Navy (PLAN) Jiangdao (Type 056/056A)-class corvette, Xiaogan (615), that was said to be in close proximity of Japanese maritime territories near Taiwan.

The PLA announced on 2 August that it would be conducting an expansive series of military drills around Taiwan. The announcement came after a highly controversial visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her delegation to the island, which Beijing views as a violation of its sovereignty.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/terror-insurgent-group/latest/tracking-wildfires-through-open-source-data

Large wildfires have spread throughout the world in mid-2021, in part attributed to climate change a...

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