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Because their broad spatial and temporal coverage, satellites provide the main source of fire data for Amazonia. A key to the application of these tools for environmental studies is the appropriate interpretation of the data they provide. To enhance the interpretation of satellite fire data for this region, we collected ground-based data on fires in 2001 and 2002 using a simple and passive method, and statistically related these data to corresponding estimates from AVHRR and MODIS fire products using error matrices. Multiple methods of analyses from simple to complex produced qualitatively similar results. Total accuracies for both fire products were very high (> 99%) and dominated by accurate (> 99%) non-fire detection. Kappa statistics and fire-detection accuracies were substantially lower, with omission errors higher than commission errors. Results calculated using several different sets of spatial-matching parameters of analysis showed that Kappa was 1-10.6% for AVHRR, and 0-1.4% for MODIS. User\'s accuracy for fires was 0-40% for AVHRR and 3-100% for MODIS. Producer\'s accuracy for fires was 0-8% for AVHRR and 0-1% for MODIS. Statistical evaluations of potential explanatory factors showed that fire size and sampling time were dominant factors for low accuracies. Results from this study indicate that current satellite fire products are providing a limited sample of the fire activity in the region, and that ground-based analyses can substantially contribute to the interpretation of these products. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

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