NASA released a video this week that explains some of the features of the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite that was launched October 28, 2011. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the satellite is a 22-band radiometer designed to collect infrared and visible light data to observe wildfires, movement of ice, and changes in landforms. It has a resolution of 375 meters, much better than the MODIS satellite data with 1,000-meter resolution. The MODIS was launched in 1999.
The combination of the VIIRS data (that is updated twice a day), weather forecasts, and fire behavior modeling software developed by Janice Coen and Wilfrid Schroeder, can result in more useful fire spread forecasts for fire managers.