Exploitation of Sentinel-2 time series to map burned areas at the national level: a case study on the 2017 Italy Wildfires
Document Type: Journal
Author(s): Federico Filipponi
Publication Year: 2019

Cataloging Information

  • BAIS2
  • burned area mapping
  • fire monitoring
  • fire severity
  • Italy
  • operational service
  • Sentinel 2
  • time series
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: March 31, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 57576


Satellite data play a major role in supporting knowledge about fire severity by delivering rapid information to map fire-damaged areas in a precise and prompt way. The high availability of free medium-high spatial resolution optical satellite data, offered by the Copernicus Programme, has enabled the development of more detailed post-fire mapping. This research study deals with the exploitation of Sentinel-2 time series to map burned areas, taking advantages from the high revisit frequency and improved spatial and spectral resolution of the MSI optical sensor. A novel procedure is here presented to produce medium-high spatial resolution burned area mapping using dense Sentinel-2 time series with no a priori knowledge about wildfire occurrence or burned areas spatial distribution. The proposed methodology is founded on a threshold-based classification based on empirical observations that discovers wildfire fingerprints on vegetation cover by means of an abrupt change detection procedure. Effectiveness of the procedure in mapping medium-high spatial resolution burned areas at the national level was demonstrated for a case study on the 2017 Italy wildfires. Thematic maps generated under the Copernicus Emergency Management Service were used as reference products to assess the accuracy of the results. Multitemporal series of three different spectral indices, describing wildfire disturbance, were used to identify burned areas and compared to identify their performances in terms of spectral separability. Result showed a total burned area for the Italian country in the year 2017 of around 1400 km2, with the proposed methodology generating a commission error of around 25% and an omission error of around 40%. Results demonstrate how the proposed procedure allows for the medium-high resolution mapping of burned areas, offering a benchmark for the development of new operational downstreaming services at the national level based on Copernicus data for the systematic monitoring of wildfires.

Online Link(s):
Filipponi, Federico. 2019. Exploitation of Sentinel-2 time series to map burned areas at the national level: a case study on the 2017 Italy Wildfires. Remote Sensing 11(6):622.