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Title: Estimating ladder fuels: a new approach combining field photography with LiDAR

Author: Kramer, Heather; Collins, Brandon; Lake, Frank; Jakubowski, Marek; Stephens, Scott; Kelly, Maggi;

Date: 2016

Source: Remote Sensing. 8(9): 766

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Forests historically associated with frequent fire have changed dramatically due to fire suppression and past harvesting over the last century. The buildup of ladder fuels, which carry fire from the surface of the forest floor to tree crowns, is one of the critical changes, and it has contributed to uncharacteristically large and severe fires. The abundance of ladder fuels makes it difficult to return these forests to their natural fire regime or to meet management objectives. Despite the importance of ladder fuels, methods for quantifying them are limited and imprecise. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), a form of active remote sensing, is able to estimate many aspects of forest structure across a landscape. This study investigates a new method for quantifying ladder fuel in the field (using photographs with a calibration banner) and remotely (using LiDAR data). We apply these new techniques in the Klamath Mountains of Northern California to predict ladder fuel levels across the study area. Our results demonstrate a new utility of LiDAR data to identify fire hazard and areas in need of fuels reduction.

Keywords: LiDAR, ladder fuel, wildland fire, forest structure, Klamath

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Kramer, Heather; Collins, Brandon; Lake, Frank; Jakubowski, Marek; Stephens, Scott; Kelly, Maggi 2016. Estimating ladder fuels: a new approach combining field photography with LiDAR. Remote Sensing. 8(9): 766.

 


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