Remote sensing of burn severity: experience from western Canada boreal fires
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): R. J. Hall; J. T. Freeburn; W. J. de Groot; J. M. Pritchard; T. J. Lynham; R. Landry
Publication Year: 2008

Cataloging Information

  • Abies balsamea
  • Alberta
  • boreal forests
  • Canada
  • CBI - composite burn index
  • coniferous forests
  • deciduous forests
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire severity
  • forest management
  • fuel type
  • fuel types
  • Landsat
  • Larix laricina
  • NBR - Normalized Burn Ratio
  • Northwest Territories
  • Picea glauca
  • Picea mariana
  • Pinus banksiana
  • Pinus contorta
  • Populus tacamahacca
  • Populus tremuloides
  • post fire recovery
  • remote sensing
  • Saskatchewan
  • statistical analysis
  • vegetation surveys
  • wildfires
  • Yukon Territory
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 11, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 47039
Tall Timbers Record Number: 22903
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-I
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


The severity of a burn for post-fire ecological effects has been assessed with the composite burn index (CBI) and the differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR). This study assessed the relationship between these two variables across recently burned areas located in the western Canadian boreal, a region not extensively evaluated in previous studies. Of particular interest was to evaluate the nature of the CBI-dNBR relationship from the perspectives of modelling, the influence of fire behaviour prediction (FBP) fuel type, and how field observations could be incorporated into the burn severity mapping process. A non-linear model form best represented the relationship between these variables for the fires evaluated, and a similar statistical performance was achieved when data from all fires were pooled into a single dataset. Results from this study suggest the potential to develop a single model for application over the western region of the boreal, but further evaluation is necessary. This evaluation could include stratification by FBP fuel type due to study results that document its apparent influence on dNBR values. A new approach for burn severity mapping was introduced by defining severity thresholds through field assessment of CBI, and from which development of new models could be incorporated directly into the mapping process. © IAWF 2008. Reproduced from the International Journal of Wildland Fire (R.J. Hall, et al, 2008) with the kind permission of CSIRO PUBLISHING on behalf of the International Association of Wildland Fire.

Online Link(s):
Hall, R. J., J. T. Freeburn, W. J. de Groot, J. M. Pritchard, T. J. Lynham, and R. Landry. 2008. Remote sensing of burn severity: experience from western Canada boreal fires. International Journal of Wildland Fire, v. 17, no. 4, p. 476-489. 10.1071/.