There are multiple satellites observing and reporting fire imagery at various spatial and temporal resolutions and each system has inherent strengths and limitations. In this study, data are acquired from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer (MODIS) aboard the National Aeronautics & Space Administration’s (NASA’s) Earth Observing System satellites. The MODIS-equipped satellite is polar orbiting with one daytime equatorial crossing and a 1-km2 resolution product. Fire-counts are obtained from two MODIS instruments aboard two different satellites having 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM equatorial crossing time, respectively. Here, a general methodology of processing the MODIS data is provided. An effective area burned estimate, obtained using the MODIS fire count product, is compared with fire occurrence and area burned estimates obtained independently from a 2002 ground-based fire database. Successful development and application of this technique for characterizing fire emissions in the United States (U.S.) could enhance the development of techniques for characterization of fire emissions for air quality modeling and its applications.