Wednesday, 19 November 2003: 3:30 PM
The Use of Remote Sensing Technologies to Support Fire Suppression and Rehabilitation
Remote sensing technologies have the capability to provide accurate and timely information to fire suppression teams, land management agencies, and the public. The USDA Forest Service is currently using a combination of satellite and airborne remote sensing systems to map and monitor active wildland fires, and to map burn severity for post-fire rehabilitation. Remote sensing systems are used to provide national scale – strategic planning level, and fine scale – tactical incident level fire maps and products. The national scale – strategic planning level fire maps are developed using the NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The MODIS system provides a unique capability to image large geographic areas on a daily basis. Data from the MODIS sensor is used to prepare active fire maps and geospatial data twice a day for the entire United States. The actively burning areas are detected and mapped by the MODIS sensor at a 1 km spatial resolution. These maps and data are made available to fire managers, and the public through the internet at: http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us. These maps have proved to be useful in monitoring actively burning fires, assisting in planning and allocating fire suppression resources, and informing the public on current fire activity across the nation. Finer resolution fire maps and geospatial data are provided to Incident Command fire suppression teams to assist in tactical level planning. A combination of airborne Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR), thermal imagers, and high resolution thermal infrared line scanner systems are used to acquire detailed imagery and data for quick response fire mapping products. These products are used to brief Incident Command staff and support local decisions on where fire suppression assets should be used. After a wildland fire is contained, local land managers are faced with the task of rehabilitating areas that are susceptible to soil erosion and landslides. Satellite and airborne remote sensing systems are used to quickly map burn severity and prioritize areas for revegetation and erosion control treatments.