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Title: Establishing a nationwide baseline of historical burn-severity data to support monitoring of trends in wildfire effects and national fire policies

Author: Schwind, Brian; Brewer, Ken; Quayle, Brad; Eidenshink, Jeffery C.;

Date: 2010

Source: In: Pye, John M.; Rauscher, H. Michael; Sands, Yasmeen; Lee, Danny C.; Beatty, Jerome S., tech. eds. Advances in threat assessment and their application to forest and rangeland management. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-802. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest and Southern Research Stations: 381-396

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: There is a need to provide agency leaders, elected officials, and the general public with summary information regarding the effects of large wildfires. Recently, the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC), which implements and coordinates National Fire Plan (NFP) and Federal Wildland Fire Management Policies adopted a strategy to monitor the effectiveness and effects of the National Fire Plan and the Healthy Forests Restoration Act. One component of this strategy is to assess the environmental impacts of large wildland fires and identify the trends of burn severity on all lands across the United States. To that end, WFLC has sponsored a 6-year project, Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS), which requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (USDA-FS) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to map and assess the burn severity for all large current and historical fires. Using Landsat data and the differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR) algorithm, the USGS/EROS Data Center and USDA-FS/ Remote Sensing Applications Center will map burn severity of all fires occurring from 1984 to 2010. Only fires that are greater than 500 ac in the East, and 1,000 ac in the West will be included. We anticipate mapping a total of more than 9,000 historical fires and fires that occur during the course of the study. The MTBS project will generate burn-severity data, maps, and reports, which will be available for use at local, State, and national levels to evaluate trends in burn severity and help develop and assess the effectiveness of land management decisions. Additionally, the information developed will provide a baseline from which to monitor the recovery and health of fire-affected landscapes over time. Spatial and tabular data quantifying burn severity will augment existing information used to estimate risk associated with a range of current and future resource threats. For example, fire severity data along with associated biophysical characteristics provide an analytical basis for assessing risk from invasive species as well as native insects and pathogens. All data and results will be distributed to the public via a Web interface.

Keywords: Burn severity, Landsat, monitoring, spatial, temporal, trends, wildland fire

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
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Citation:


Schwind, Brian; Brewer, Ken; Quayle, Brad; Eidenshink, Jeffery C. 2010. Establishing a nationwide baseline of historical burn-severity data to support monitoring of trends in wildfire effects and national fire policies. In: Pye, John M.; Rauscher, H. Michael; Sands, Yasmeen; Lee, Danny C.; Beatty, Jerome S., tech. eds. Advances in threat assessment and their application to forest and rangeland management. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-802. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest and Southern Research Stations: 381-396.

 


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