Structure-level fuel load assessment in the wildland–urban interface: a fusion of airborne laser scanning and spectral remote-sensing methodologies
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International Journal of Wildland Fire
Large-scale fuel assessments are useful for developing policy aimed at mitigating wildfires in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), while finer-scale characterisation is necessary for maximising the effectiveness of fuel reduction treatments and directing suppression activities. We developed and tested an objective, consistent approach for characterising hazardous fuels in the WUI at the scale of individual structures by integrating aerial photography, airborne laser scanning and cadastral datasets into a hazard assessment framework. This methodology is appropriate for informing zoning policy questions, targeting presuppression planning and fuel reduction treatments, and assisting in prioritizing structure defence during suppression operations. Our results show increased variability in fuel loads with decreasing analysis unit area, indicating that fine-scale differences exist that may be omitted owing to spatial averaging when using a coarser, grid-based approach. Analyses using a local parcel database indicate that approximately 75% of the structures in this study have ownership of less than 50% of the 30m buffer around their building, illustrating the complexity of multiple ownerships when attempting to manage fuels in the WUI. Our results suggest that our remote-sensing approach could augment, and potentially improve, ground-based survey approaches in the WUI.
Skowronski, Nicholas S.; Haag, Scott; Trimble, Jim; Clark, Kenneth L.; Gallagher, Michael R.; Lathrop, Richard G. 2016. Structure-level fuel load assessment in the wildland–urban interface: a fusion of airborne laser scanning and spectral remote-sensing methodologies. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 25(5): 547-. https://doi.org/10.1071/WF14078.