Assessing the Causes, Consequences and Spatial Variability of Burn Severity


    The USDA/USDOI Joint Fire Sciences Program funded the Rapid Response project "Assessing the Causes, Consequences and Spatial Variability of Burn Severity" to be conducted during and after active fire incidents. We have sampled on nine large wildfires in Montana, California and Alaska. Our team quantifies conditions before, during and after fires burn.

    Our goal is to understand the spatial variability in fire effects and to explore relationships between burn severity and fuels, fire behavior, local weather and topography.

     


    We work closely with and share data and results with Fire Use, Incident Management, and Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) teams. We provide an improved set of quantitative indicators of burn severity that are scalable and mappable from the ground, using satellite and airborne hyperspectral imagery.

    Our data will be useful to fire managers making challenging, timely decisions and in building the next generation of fire behavior and fire effects models.

     

    Develop and validate quantitative indicators of burn severity, including both overstory and soil surface effects, from field and remote post-fire measurements in a variety of sites (e.g. vegetation, topography, soils, parent material) and burning conditions.

    Assess the accuracy of the delta normalized burn ratio (dNBR) and other remote measures of burn severity across a range of burn severities.

    Quantify spatial variability in burn severity (both in the field and remotely) in terms of tree mortality and other overstory effects, soil surface effects and water repellency, and combined effects, across a range of fuel and site conditions.

    Model how spatial variation in fuel, topography and weather influences fire behavior and effects across a variety of fire-adapted ecosystems.

    Identify and widely share efficient sampling and remote sensing methods for rapid assessment of fire effects to assist strategic fire management before (e.g., fuels management), during, and after (e.g., rehabilitation) wildfires.

    Penelope Morgan
    University of Idaho - Dept. of Forest, Rangeland, & Fire Sciences
    E-mail: pmorgan@uidaho.edu
    Phone: (208) 885-7507

    Andrew Hudak
    U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station
    E-mail: ahudak@fs.fed.us
    Phone: (208) 883-2327

    Pete Robichaud
    U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station
    E-mail: probichaud@fs.fed.us
    Phone: (208) 883-2349

    Kevin Ryan
    U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station
    E-mail: kryan@fs.fed.us
    Phone: (406) 329-4807

    Keith Lannom
    U.S. Forest Service, Remote Sensing Applications Center
    E-mail: klannom@fs.fed.us
    Phone: (801) 975-3765

    Terrie Jain
    U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station
    E-mail: tjain@fs.fed.us
    Phone: (208) 883-2331

    Paul Gessler
    University of Idaho, Dept. of Forest, Rangeland, & Fire Sciences
    E-mail: paulg@uidaho.edu
    Phone: (208) 885-8595