Rocky Mountain Research Station Publications

RMRS Online Publication - Journal Articles, External Publications, and Special Reports
Spectral analysis of charcoal on soils: Implications for wildland fire severity mapping methods


Smith, Alistair M. S.; Eitel, Jan U. H.; Hudak, Andrew T. 2010. Spectral analysis of charcoal on soils: Implications for wildland fire severity mapping methods. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 19: 976-983.

Recent studies in the Western United States have supported climate scenarios that predict a higher occurrence of large and severe wildfires. Knowledge of the severity is important to infer long-term biogeochemical, ecological, and societal impacts, but understanding the sensitivity of any severity mapping method to variations in soil type and increasing charcoal (char) cover is essential before widespread adoption. Through repeated spectral analysis of increasing charcoal quantities on six representative soils, we found that addition of charcoal to each soil resulted in linear spectral mixing. We found that performance of the Normalised Burn Ratio was highly sensitive to soil type, whereas the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index was relatively insensitive. Our conclusions have potential implications for national programs that seek to monitor long-term trends in wildfire severity and underscore the need to collect accurate soils information when evaluating large-scale wildland fires.

Keywords: ash, char, combustion residue, remote sensing


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
http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_other/rmrs_2010_smith_a001.pdf

PDF File Size: 675 K


Title: RMRS Other Publications: Spectral analysis of charcoal on soils: Implications for wildland fire severity mapping methods
Electronic Publish Date: March 30, 2011
Last Update:
March 30, 2011

RMRS Publications | Order a publication | Contact Us