USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

 
Pacific Southwest
Research Station

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Albany, CA 94710-0011
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Publications and Products

Title: Examining landscape-scale fuel and terrain controls of wildfire spread rates using repetitive airborne thermal infrared (ATIR) imagery

Authors: Schag, Gavin M.; Stow, Douglas A.; Riggan, Philip J.; Tissell, Robert G.; Coen, Janice L.

Date: 2021

Source Fire. 4(1): 6

Abstract:

The objectives of this study are to evaluate landscape-scale fuel and terrain controls on fire rate of spread (ROS) estimates derived from repetitive airborne thermal infrared (ATIR) imagery sequences collected during the 2017 Thomas and Detwiler extreme wildfire events in California. Environmental covariate data were derived from prefire National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) orthoimagery and USGS digital elevation models (DEMs). Active fronts and spread vectors of the expanding fires were delineated from ATIR imagery. Then, statistical relationships between fire spread rates and landscape covariates were analyzed using bivariate and multivariate regression. Directional slope is found to be the most statistically significant covariate with ROS for the five fire imagery sequences that were analyzed and its relationship with ROS is best characterized as an exponential growth function (adj. R2 max = 0.548, min = 0.075). Imaged-derived fuel covariates alone are statistically weak predictors of ROS (adj. R2 max = 0.363, min = 0.002) but, when included in multivariate models, increased ROS predictability and variance explanation (+14%) compared to models with directional slope alone.

Keywords: wildland fire, extreme wildfire event, fire rate of spread, thermal imagery, regression

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Citation

    Schag, Gavin M.; Stow, Douglas A.; Riggan, Philip J.; Tissell, Robert G.; Coen, Janice L. 2021. Examining landscape-scale fuel and terrain controls of wildfire spread rates using repetitive airborne thermal infrared (ATIR) imagery. Fire. 4(1): 6. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire4010006.
Last Modified: April 27, 2021