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Combined Methodology Based on Field Spectrometry and Digital Photography for Estimating Fire Severity

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4 Author(s)
Raquel Montorio Lloveria ; Dept. of Geogr. & Spatial Manage., Univ. of Zaragoza, Zaragoza ; Fernando Perez-Cabello ; Alberto Garcia-Martin ; Juan de la Riva Fernandez

Fire severity can be considered one of the most influential factors in the postfire development of burnt areas. Ground level studies documenting changes in reflectance values improve the discrimination of spatial fire severity across large areas. The objective of this study was to determine those spectral regions most sensitive to fire severity levels by investigating the relationship between postfire surface materials and reflectance values. A total of 34 field plots were analyzed immediately following two natural fires in Spain. To obtain postfire data, we used a portable structure to obtain vertical photographs and reflectance values in the visible-near-infrared (VIS-NIR) range. Spectral reflectance and convolved Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) bands were statistically correlated with individual postfire materials and with a fire severity index, the Combustion Products Index (CPI), derived from them. The wavelengths most sensitive to postfire materials were 450.6, 758.2, and 797 nm for ash, black carbon, and vegetation, respectively, although these wavelengths were included within ranges of comparable behavior. Finally, stepwise multiple regression models (SMLRs) were applied to the data. SMLR predicted ash, black carbon, and vegetation levels from reflectance data with accuracies higher than 75%. Estimation from Landsat-TM bands yielded slightly lower accuracies. The CPI severity index was also well estimated using either reflectance data or TM bands (r 2 = 0.925 and r 2 = 0.840 , respectively).

Published in:

IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing  (Volume:1 ,  Issue: 4 )