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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Morgan A. Crowley; Christopher A. Stockdale; Joshua M. Johnston; Michael A. Wulder; Tianjia Liu; Jessica L. McCarty; Jesse T. Rieb; Jeffrey A. Cardille; Joanne C. White
Publication Date: 2023

Fire seasons have become increasingly variable and extreme due to changing climatological, ecological, and social conditions. Earth observation data are critical for monitoring fires and their impacts. Herein, we present a whole-system framework for identifying and synthesizing fire monitoring objectives and data needs throughout the life cycle of a fire event. The four stages of fire monitoring using Earth observation data include the following: (1) pre-fire vegetation inventories, (2) active-fire monitoring, (3) post-fire assessment, and (4) multi-scale synthesis. We identify the challenges and opportunities associated with current approaches to fire monitoring, highlighting four case studies from North American boreal, montane, and grassland ecosystems. While the case studies are localized to these ecosystems and regional contexts, they provide insights for others experiencing similar monitoring challenges worldwide. The field of remote sensing is experiencing a rapid proliferation of new data sources, providing observations that can inform all aspects of our fire monitoring framework; however, significant challenges for meeting fire monitoring objectives remain. We identify future opportunities for data sharing and rapid co-development of information products using cloud computing that benefits from open-access Earth observation and other geospatial data layers.

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Citation: Crowley, Morgan A.; Stockdale, Christopher A.; Johnston, Joshua M.; Wulder, Michael A.; Liu, Tianjia; McCarty, Jessica L.; Rieb, Jesse T.; Cardille, Jeffrey A.; White, Joanne C. 2023. Towards a whole-system framework for wildfire monitoring using Earth observations. Global Change Biology 29(6):1423-1436.

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  • complex systems
  • Earth Observation
  • fire monitoring
  • forest fires
  • pyrogeography
  • remote sensing
  • wildfires
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Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 67244