MCD64A1 v006

MODIS/Terra+Aqua Burned Area Monthly L3 Global 500 m SIN Grid

PI: Louis Giglio

The MCD64A1 Version 6 data product was decommissioned on July 31, 2023. Users are encouraged to use the MCD64A1 Version 6.1 data product.


The Terra and Aqua combined MCD64A1 Version 6 Burned Area data product is a monthly, global gridded 500 meter (m) product containing per-pixel burned-area and quality information. The MCD64A1 burned-area mapping approach employs 500 m Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Surface Reflectance imagery coupled with 1 kilometer (km) MODIS active fire observations. The algorithm uses a burn sensitive Vegetation Index (VI) to create dynamic thresholds that are applied to the composite data. The VI is derived from MODIS shortwave infrared atmospherically corrected surface reflectance bands 5 and 7 with a measure of temporal texture. The algorithm identifies the date of burn for the 500 m grid cells within each individual MODIS tile. The date is encoded in a single data layer as the ordinal day of the calendar year on which the burn occurred with values assigned to unburned land pixels and additional special values reserved for missing data and water grid cells.

The data layers provided in the MCD64A1 product include Burn Date, Burn Data Uncertainty, Quality Assurance, along with First Day and Last Day of reliable change detection of the year.

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Improvements/Changes from Previous Versions

  • The product is now generated using an improved version of the MCD64 burned area mapping algorithm (Giglio et al., 2009), i.e., MCD64A1 will be adopted as the standard MODIS burned area product for Collection 6. The MCD45A1 product will not be generated beyond Collection 5.1.
  • The product is generated using Version 6 surface reflectance and active fire input data.
  • General improvement (reduced omission error) in burned area detection, including significantly better detection of small burns.
  • Modest reduction in burn-date temporal uncertainty.
  • Significant reduction in the occurrence of unclassified grid cells due to algorithm changes and refinements in the upstream Version 6 input data.
  • Product coverage expanded from 219 to 268 MODIS tiles.
  • Expanded per-pixel Quality Assurance (QA) product layer.

Product Maturity

Validation at stage 3 has been achieved for the MODIS Burned Area product. Further details regarding MODIS land product validation for the MCD64A1 data product is available from the MODIS Land Team Validation site.

Collection and Granule


Characteristic Description
CollectionCombined MODIS
File Size~2.08 MB
Temporal ResolutionMonthly
Temporal Extent2000-11-01 to 2022-12-31
Spatial ExtentGlobal
Coordinate SystemSinusoidal
File FormatHDF-EOS
Geographic Dimensions1200 km x 1200 km


Characteristic Description
Number of Science Dataset (SDS) Layers5
Columns/Rows2400 x 2400
Pixel Size500 m

Layers / Variables

SDS Name Description Units Data Type Fill Value No Data Value Valid Range Scale Factor
Burn Date Burn day of year Day 16-bit signed integer -2 to 0 N/A 1 to 366 N/A
Burn Date Uncertainty Estimated uncertainty in burn day Day 8-bit unsigned integer 0 N/A 0 to 100 N/A
QA Quality Assurance Indicators Bit Field 8-bit unsigned integer N/A N/A 0 to 255 N/A
First Day First day of the year of reliable change detection Day 16-bit signed integer -2, -1 N/A 1 to 366 N/A
Last Day Last day of the year of reliable change detection Day 16-bit signed integer -2, -1 N/A 1 to 366 N/A

Burn Date Fill Values

Fill Value Description
0 Unburned
-1 Fill
-2 Water

First and Last Day Fill Values

Fill Value Description
-1 Fill
-2 Water

Product Quality

For more information on the Quality layer and to view the bitmap, refer to page 9, Section 3.1.2, of the Burned Area User Guide.

Quality assurance information should be considered when determining the usability of data for a particular science application. The ArcGIS MODIS-VIIRS Python Toolbox contains tools capable of decoding quality data layers while producing thematic quality raster files for each quality attribute.

In addition to data access and transformation processes, AppEEARS also has the capability to unpack and interpret the quality layers.

The QA layer is stored in an efficient bit-encoded manner. The unpack_sds_bits executable from the LDOPE Tools is available to the user community to help parse and interpret the QA layer.

Known Issues

Known issues are described on the MODIS Land Quality Assessment website and in Section 8 of the User Guide which covers Cropland Burning, the August 2000 and June 2001 Data Outages, and the August 2020 Aqua Outage.

About the image

Combined MODIS burn date data from the MCD64A1 product over Australia, June 2018.

View full-size image


User Guide
Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document (ATBD)
File Specification

Using the Data

Access Data


DOI: 10.5067/MODIS/MCD64A1.006