Rocky Mountain Research Station Publications

RMRS Online Publication - Journal Articles, External Publications, and Special Reports
Burn severity mapping using simulation modeling and satellite imagery

Karau, Eva C.; Keane, Robert E. 2010. Burn severity mapping using simulation modeling and satellite imagery. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 19: 710-724.

Although burn severity maps derived from satellite imagery provide a landscape view of fire impacts, fire effects simulation models can provide spatial fire severity estimates and add a biotic context in which to interpret severity. In this project, we evaluated two methods of mapping burn severity in the context of rapid post-fire assessment for four wildfires in western Montana using 64 plots as field reference: (1) an image-based burn severity mapping approach using the Differenced Normalised Burn Ratio, and (2) a fire effects simulation approach using the FIREHARM model. The image-based approach was moderately correlated with percentage tree mortality but had no relationship with percentage fuel consumption, whereas the simulation approach was moderately correlated with percentage fuel consumption and weakly correlated with percentage tree mortality. Burn severity maps produced by the two approaches had mixed results among the four sampled wildfires. Both approaches had the same overall map agreement when compared with a sampled composite burn index but the approaches generated different severity maps. Though there are limitations to both approaches and more research is needed to refine methodologies, these techniques have the potential to be used synergistically to improve burn severity mapping capabilities of land managers, enabling them to quickly and effectively meet rehabilitation objectives.

Keywords: differenced normalised burn ratio, fire effects

About PDFs: For best results, do not open the PDF in your Web browser. Right-click on the PDF link to download the PDF file directly to your computer. Click here for more PDF help.

Download Article

PDF File Size: 1 MB

Title: RMRS Other Publications: Burn severity mapping using simulation modeling and satellite imagery
Electronic Publish Date: August 1, 2012
Last Update:
August 1, 2012

RMRS Publications | Order a publication | Contact Us