Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service
  
Treesearch

Research & Development Treesearch

 
Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Northern
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help
 

Science.gov - We Participate


USA.gov  Government Made Easy


Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.
20090-6090

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (509 KB)

Title: Comparison of six fire severity classification methods using Montana and Washington wildland fires

Author: Sikkink, Pamela G.;

Date: 2015

Source: In: Keane, Robert E.; Jolly, Matt; Parsons, Russell; Riley, Karin. Proceedings of the large wildland fires conference; May 19-23, 2014; Missoula, MT. Proc. RMRS-P-73. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 213-226.

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

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

Description: Fire severity classifications are used in the post-fire environment to describe fire effects, such as soil alteration or fuel consumption, on the forest floor. Most of the developed classifications are limited because they address very specific fire effects or post-burn characteristics in the burned environment. However, because fire effects vary so much among soil, hydrology, vegetation, chemistry, particulate, and spatial distribution, it is important to realize that the impressions of burn severity are governed by the method used to classify the fire effects. The objective of this study was to determine (1) how severity classes derived from each tested method compared with the Composite Burn Index, which is a standard field assessment for fire severity that is commonly used in the United States; and (2) how well the fire severity classes obtained from six different classification methods agreed with each other. Comparisons of fire severity classes were made on 289 field plots from 15 fires across Montana and Washington. Severity classes were made for two types of field classifications, including (1) a fire severity matrix (Ryan and Noste 1985), and (2) soil post-fire indices (Jain and others 2012); three remote sensing methods, including (1) the Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) classification (Eidenshink and others 2007), (2) a modification of the relativized differenced normalized burn ratio (RdNBR) classification for plots in the northwestern United States, and (3) the Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER/BARC) classification; and a modeling approach created by Keane and others (2010) called FIREHARM. The severity classes derived from these six methods were compared to on-site field assessments of fire severity using the Composite Burn Index (CBI). The two field classifications corresponded best with CBI (Kendal tau b > 0.61, ASE = 0.4). Remote sensing classification classes corresponded to CBI classes only half of the time (Kendal tau b = 0.53, ASE = 0.04). The modeling approach had low to negative correlations with all other methods and the average correspondence among all the classification types was 38%.

Keywords: Composite Burn Index, dNBR, FIREHARM, fire severity matrix, RdNBR, soil post-fire indices

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • You may send email to rmrspubrequest@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication. (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)

XML: View XML

Citation:


Sikkink, Pamela G. 2015. Comparison of six fire severity classification methods using Montana and Washington wildland fires. In: Keane, Robert E.; Jolly, Matt; Parsons, Russell; Riley, Karin. Proceedings of the large wildland fires conference; May 19-23, 2014; Missoula, MT. Proc. RMRS-P-73. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 213-226.

 


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.