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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Laura E. Chasmer; Chris D. Hopkinson; Richard M. Petrone; Michael Sitar
Publication Date: 2017

Accuracy of depth of burn (an indicator of consumption) in peatland soils using prefire and postfire airborne light detection and ranging (lidar) data is determined within a wetland-upland forest environment near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. The relationship between peat soil burn depth and an “active” normalized burn ratio (ANBR) is also examined beneath partially and fully burned forest and understory canopies using state-of-the-art active reflectance from a multispectral lidar compared with normalized burn ratio (NBR) derived from Landsat 7 ETM+. We find significant correspondence between depth of burn, lidar-derived ANBR, and difference NBR (dNBR) from Landsat. However, low-resolution optical imagery excludes peatland burn losses in transition zones, which are highly sensitive to peat loss via combustion. The findings presented here illustrate the utility of this new remote sensing technology for expanding an area of research where it has previously been challenging to spatially detect and quantify such wildfire burn losses.

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Citation: Chasmer, Laura E.; Hopkinsons, Chris D.; Petrone, Richard M.; Sitar, Michael. 2017. Using multitemporal and multispectral airborne lidar to assess depth of peat loss and correspondence with a new active normalized burn ratio for wildfires. Geophysical Research Letters 44(23):11851-11859.

Cataloging Information

  • Alberta
  • ANBR - active normalized burn ratio
  • Canada
  • depth of burn
  • dNBR - differenced Normalized Burn Ratio
  • Fort McMurray Fire
  • LiDAR - Light Detection and Ranging
  • peatlands
  • remote sensing
  • wildfire
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 25634