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By Lalit Kumar, Peter Clarke, Carlos Muñoz and Kirsten Knox


The effect of fire on natural resources is termed “fire severity ” and is related to the energy output of the fire. Recently the term “burn severity ” has been introduced to identify the impacts of fire on soil and plants when the fire has been extinguished. This study addresses the assessment of a large wildfire in Gibraltar Range National Park, Australia, through remote sensing of fire severity and explores the spatial relationships between fire severity and biophysical factors. Burn severity indices were developed from Landsat TM satellite images using pre-fire and post-fire images. Reflectance values computed from Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM) images acquired before and after the fire were used to estimate the Normalised Burn Ratio (NBR), which incorporates the near and mid infrared bands. Spatial distribution of ΔNBR data were calibrated with field observations and threshold values of burn severity were used to classify fire severity into 5 severity classes per vegetation type. ΔNBR values were extracted from different representative fire severities and spatial relationships were developed between ΔNBR and vegetation type, fuel type, fire danger index, time since fire, fire frequency, slope and rockiness in order to account for variables influencing fire severity patterns. General linear models and tests of significance were used to ascertain whether the effects of individual factors were statistically significant. The various models tested showed that no single factor (weather, fuel or landscape) accounted for the burn severity pattern. Fire weather and vegetation type were found to be the key factors in the models. 1

Topics: KEY WORDS, Fire severity, Burn severity, Spectral Indices, NDVI, NBR ABSTRACT
Year: 2011
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