New high resolution infrared data aids in the monitoring of fine scale wildland fire effects
Forest reflectance data in the infrared range is important for predicting burn severity, or the magnitude of ecological change, following wildland fires. U.S. Geologic Survey satellites have been primary collectors of this data, which is effective for capturing medium- to large-scale effects on large western fires. However, the spatial resolution of these data remain too coarse to describe burn severity across small fires or to predict fine scale effects, which are valuable for evaluating shifts in ecological function and effectiveness in mitigating fire risk around homes or cultural resources. In the northeastern U.S. forest types where there is a high amount of wildland-urban interface, and a desire to restore habitats using fire, the lack of data is problematic. In the spring of 2016, Forest Service scientists evaluated the use of data from the new, high-resolution Worldview3 satellite for generating fine-scale burn severity predictions at wild and prescribed fires in the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve. Worldview3 data was found to accurately produce higher resolution predictions than were previously available. Researchers are now able to conduct work that ties burn severity to hazard reduction and ecological effects, thus gaining insights valuable to fire managers and the advancement of fire science in the east.
Forest Service Partners