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Remote sensing of WUI fuel treatment effectiveness following the 2007 wildfires in central Idaho


Hudak, Andrew T.; Jain, Theresa B.; Morgan, Penelope; Clark, Jess T. 2011. Remote sensing of WUI fuel treatment effectiveness following the 2007 wildfires in central Idaho. In: Wade, D. D.; Robinson, M. L., eds. Proceedings of the 3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference; October 25-29, 2010; Spokane, WA. Birmingham, AL: International Association of Wildland Fire. 11 p.

The 2007 East Zone and Cascade wildfires in central Idaho burned through fuel treatments in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) surrounding two local communities: Secesh Meadows and Warm Lake. The WUI fuel treatments funded by the National Fire Plan were designed to increase fire fighter safety, protect people and property, and mitigate severe fire effects on natural resources. It has been shown previously via two independent on-the-ground assessments that these WUI treatments were generally effective by these criteria. In this study, we demonstrate that fuel treatment effectiveness also can be assessed remotely, using data from Burned Area Reflectance Classification (BARC) maps that are customarily produced by the USFS Remote Sensing Applications Center (RSAC) in response to major wildfires. A simple GIS analysis was used to calculate and compare the proportion of hectares burned at high severity between treatment units and untreated lands in the two study landscapes. In both landscapes, a higher proportion of untreated lands burned at high severity than treated lands. Furthermore, this result was consistent whether using an immediate post-fire BARC map indicative of fire severity or a one-year post-fire BARC map indicative of burn severity. The method can be used to assess treatment effectiveness on other large wildfires.

Keywords: burn severity, fire severity, National Fire Plan, wildland-urban interface


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Remote sensing of WUI fuel treatment effectiveness following the 2007 wildfires in central Idaho
Electronic Publish Date: April 10, 2013
Last Update:
April 10, 2013

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