Fire Intensity / Burn Severity
Fire and Landscape Mosaics
Each year, large areas are burned in wildfires across the Western United States. Assessing the ecological effects of these fires is crucial to effective postfire management. This requires accurate, efficient, and economical methods to assess the severity of fires at broad landscape scales (Brennan and Hardwick 1999; Parsons and others 2010). While postfire assessment tools exist (such as the burned area reflectance classification (BARC) maps produced in the burned area emergency response (BAER) process), land managers need new tools that easily and quickly forecast the potential severity of future fires. We are currently working on one such tool aimed at helping managers to make decisions about whether and where future wildfire events may restore fire-adapted ecosystems or degrade the landscape. This tool is a 98-foot (30-m) resolution, wall-towall map of the potential for high severity fire in the Western United States, excluding Alaska and Hawaii.