Canadian National Fire Database (CNFDB)

National Burned Area Composite

The National Burned Area Composite (NBAC) is a GIS database and system that calculates the area of forest burned on a national scale for each year since 1986. The data are used to help estimate carbon emissions in Canada. The burned area is determined by evaluating a number of available sources of data, which use different techniques to map any given fire. The system chooses the best available source of data for each burned area and builds a national composite picture.

The NBAC is part of the Fire Monitoring, Accounting and Reporting System (FireMARS), jointly developed by the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (formerly the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing) of Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Forest Service. Initially, FireMARS was developed with funding support from the Canadian Space Agency Government Related Initiatives Program through a collaboration of those in fire research, forest carbon accounting and remote sensing.

Data are provided for NBAC from:

  • Natural Resources Canada, and
  • Provincial, Territorial, and Parks Canada agencies.

Data from the National Burned Area Composite can be downloaded from the CWFIS Datamart.


Skakun, R.S.; Whitman, E.; Little, J.M.; and Parisien, M.-A. (2021). Area burned adjustments to historical wildland fires in Canada. Environmental Research Letters 16 064014. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abfb2c

Hall, R.J.; Skakun, R.S.; Metsaranta, J.M.; Landry, R.; Fraser, R.H.; Raymond, D.A.; Gartrell, J.M.; Decker, V. and Little, J.M. (2020). Generating annual estimates of forest fire disturbance in Canada: the National Burned Area Composite. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 10.1071/WF19201. DOI: 10.1071/WF19201

Anderson, K.R.; Simpson, B.N.; Hall, R.J.; Englefield, P; Gartrell, J.M.; Metsaranta, J.M. 2015. Integrating forest fuels and land cover data for improved estimation of fuel consumption and carbon emissions from boreal fires. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 24(5): 665-679. DOI: 10.1071/WF14142

de Groot, W.J.; Landry, R.; Kurz, W.A.; Anderson, K.R.; Englefield, P.; Fraser, R.H.; Hall, R.J.; Banfield, G.E.; Raymond, D.A.; Decker, V.; Lynham, T.J.; Pritchard, J. 2007. Estimating direct carbon emissions from Canadian wildland fires. International Journal of Wildland Fire 16(5): 593-606. DOI:

Fraser, R.H., Li, Z., and J. Cihlar. 2000. Hotspot and NDVI differencing synergy (HANDS): a new technique for burned area mapping over boreal forest. Remote Sensing of Environment 74:362-376. DOI: