The coverage of a large smoke pall produced from fires in Central America was addressed in an earlier GOES Gallery entry. Since then, daily samples of data from the period May 15-19, 1998 were collected and processed to produce an experimental fire product for the Central American region. There are four categories of fire pixel detection plotted for each time period: ABBA processed pixels, saturated pixels, cloud covered fire pixels, and pixels with high probability of containing a fire. Processed fire pixels are pixels in which a fire was detected and a fire size and target temperature could be retrieved. Saturated pixels indicate that the target is so hot that it saturates the GOES-8 3.9 micron detector making a size and temperature impossible to retrieve. Cloud covered pixels indicate fire pixels which could not be processed due to cloud attenuation. Pixels with high probabilities of being a fire are also plotted.
Afternoon heating aids in the propagation of already existing fires, or in the ignition of fires in very dry areas. This effect is probably part of the reason that an increase in fire count is seen throughout the day. The large variation in fire count at 1915 and 2215 UTC from day to day is not unusual due to the combination of new fires set during the day, along with the natural flaring of pre-existing fires, and ignition of dry areas.