U.S. Forest Service Post-Fire Vegetation Conditions on the National Forests
The Rapid Assessment of Vegetation Condition after Wildfire (RAVG) analysis starts with a map of vegetation burn severity that is derived from an index of relative change between pre- and post-fire LANDSAT imagery. The RAVG process produces a suite of geospatial and tabular outputs that are delivered within 45 days following containment of a wildfire that burned 1,000 acres or more of forested National Forest System (NFS) land. RAVG products include standard vegetation basal area loss summary tables and maps. The tables and maps are produced by integrating existing vegetation maps and burn severity maps. RAVG analysis produces data describing post-fire vegetation conditions. RAVG spatial data and summary products are generated using a consistent methodology and facilitate post-fire vegetation management decision-making by reducing planning and implementation costs. RAVG data also serve a variety of related agency objectives, such as wildlife habitat analyses, and the initial assessment of reforestation and restoration needs.
The existing vegetation data comes from the Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools Project (LANDFIRE) (Rollins and Frame 2006) Existing Vegetation Type (EVT) layer. The burn severity maps are built from pre and post-fire Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery or similar imagery from other sensors using the Relative Differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (RdNBR, Miller & Thode 2007). The continuous RdNBR data are calibrated to field collected tree mortality data (live and dead by species and size class) to provide estimates of tree mortality.
Following large wildfires, a rapid initial assessment of post-fire conditions is important to support management decisions on National Forest System lands. This is particularly important in areas where vegetation management activities are allowed: outside of congressionally designated wilderness areas, Wild and Scenic River corridors, or research natural areas (RNA) where under certain conditions, vegetation manipulation may take place to meet specific resource objectives.
The RAVG wildfire summary tables and maps displayed on this website for 2007 differ from the information displayed for 2008 and thereafter. After completion of 2007 RAVG processing, a technical review was conducted with RAVG stakeholders: regional silviculturists, reforestation specialists, remote sensing analysts, and managers. The following changes were implemented for the 2008 fire season based on the discussions and decisions that were made during the technical review.
In addition, the "Slope" column was removed from the 2008 RAVG tables, although slope data are still included in the GIS summary analysis and reported in the raw data of each RAVG table. The original intent for this column was to make an initial estimation of harvest-ability of the site and was not related to reforestation needs following a wildfire.
U.S. Forest Service
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Last modified: Tuesday, 21-Jul-2015 12:24:29 CDT