What is AFIS?

The Advanced Fire Information System (AFIS) is a satellite based fire information tool that delivers locations of active fires via email, Twitter, XMPP (e.g. Google Talk, jabber.org, etc.) and cell phone text messages across the globa. The active fires are detected from the Moderate Resolution Image Spectro radiometer (MODIS) sensors flying on NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites. Fire information is also acquired from the geostationary, Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellite from Eumetsat. 

The fire data received from MODIS and MSG are downloaded to a centralized server which plots the fires on a map.  The web page www.afis.co.za can be used to select or deselect layers to be viewed as default when the AFIS page is open.  AFIS is updated with MODIS fire locations about 20 minutes after each satellite scan.  Terra scans Southern Africa region daily between 10:00 – 11:30 am while Aqua scans in the afternoons between 14:00 – 15:30pm.  MSG on the other hand scans the African continent every 15 minutes and updates AFIS accordingly but at a coarser resolution.


  • Eskom
  • CSIR
  • Department of Science and Technology
  • Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
  • Department of Environmental Affairs
  • Eumetsat
  • Linfiniti Consulting
  • NASA
  • NEODAAS Dundee Satellite Receiving Station
  • South African Weather Service
  • South African National Space Agency
  • Vital Fire Weather