Decomposing the Interactions between Fire Severity and Canopy Fuel Structure Using Multi-Temporal, Active, and Passive Remote Sensing Approaches
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Within the realms of both wildland and prescribed fire, an understanding of how fire severity and forest structure interact is critical for improving fuels treatment effectiveness, quantifying the ramifications of wildfires, and improving fire behavior modeling. We integrated high resolution estimates of fire severity with multi-temporal airborne laser scanning data to examine the role that various fuel loading, canopy shape, and other variables had on predicting fire severity for a complex of prescribed fires and one wildfire and how three-dimensional fuels changed as a result of these fires. Fuel loading characteristics were widely variable, and fires were ignited using a several techniques (heading, flanking, and backing), leading to a large amount of variability in fire behavior and subsequent fire effects. Through our analysis, we found that fire severity was linked explicitly to pre-fire fuel loading and structure, particularly in the three-dimensional distribution of fuels. Fire severity was also correlated with post-fire fuel loading, forest structural heterogeneity, and shifted the diversity and abundance of canopy classes within the landscape. This work demonstrates that the vertical distribution of fuel is an important factor and that subtle difference has defined effects on fire behavior and severity.
Skowronski, Nicholas S.; Gallagher, Michael R.; Warner, Timothy A. 2020. Decomposing the Interactions between Fire Severity and Canopy Fuel Structure Using Multi-Temporal, Active, and Passive Remote Sensing Approaches. Fire. 3(1): 7. 21 p. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire3010007.