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Type: Fact Sheet / Brief / Bulletin
Author(s): Randi R. Jandt; Jennifer Donvovan
Publication Date: November 11, 2015

[from the text] In the early 1990’s remote sensing experts from Michigan travelled to Alaska to investigate use of the new field of satellite remote sensing to study the Alaskan landscape. At the time, Eric Kasischke, Nancy French, and Laura Bourgeau-Chavez worked at the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan (ERIM). ERIM was at the forefront of development and applications of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for earth remote sensing, and NASA had just opened the Alaska SAR Facility (now the Alaska Satellite Facility) at the Geophysical Institute on the University of Alaska, Fairbanks campus. Kasischke and his team wanted to explore the ways the European Remote Sensing (ERS) SAR, launched in 1991, might be used to improve our understanding of ecological systems and processes. It turned out that 1990 was a big fire season in Alaska, and burn scars showed up well on the new SAR imagery. This revelation that fire could be detected with a new satellite system provided the impetus for the researchers to connect to fire staff at the Alaska Fire Service. This connection led to improved maps of fires in Alaska and two papers covering the topic of Alaska fire history and trends (Murphy et al 2000; Kasischke et al. 2002).

Online Links
Link to this document (840 KB; pdf)
Citation: Jandt, Randi; Donovan, Jennifer. 2015. Michigan (MTRI) is a Key Provider of Alaska Wildfire Research. AFSC Research Brief 2015-2. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Fire Science Consortium. 3 p.

Cataloging Information

  • fire management
  • fire research
  • MTRI - Michigan Tech Research Institute
  • remote sensing
  • SAR satellite imagery
  • wildfire research
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 23234