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Combination of Landsat and Sentinel-2 MSI data for initial assessing of burn severity

Author(s): Carmen Quintano, Alfonso Fernández-Manso, O. Fernández-Manso
Year Published: 2018

Nowadays Earth observation satellites, in particular Landsat, provide a valuable help to forest managers in post-fire operations; being the base of post-fire damage maps that enable to analyze fire impacts and to develop vegetation recovery plans. Sentinel-2A MultiSpectral Instrument (MSI) records data in similar spectral wavelengths that Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI), and has higher spatial and temporal resolutions. This work compares two types of satellite-based maps for evaluating fire damage in a large wildfire (around 8000 ha) located in Sierra de Gata (central-western Spain) on 6–11 August 2015. 1) burn severity maps based exclusively on Landsat data; specifically, on differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR) and on its relative versions (Relative dNBR, RdNBR, and Relativized Burn Ratio, RBR) and 2) burn severity maps based on the same indexes but combining pre-fire data from Landsat 8 OLI with post-fire data from Sentinel-2A MSI data. Combination of both Landsat and Sentinel-2 data might reduce the time elapsed since forest fire to the availability of an initial fire damage map. Interpretation of ortho-photograph Pléiades 1 B data (1:10,000) provided us the ground reference data to measure the accuracy of both burn severity maps. Results showed that Landsat based burn severity maps presented an adequate assessment of the damage grade (κ statistic = 0.80) and its spatial distribution in wildfire emergency response. Further using both Landsat and Sentinel-2 MSI data the accuracy of burn severity maps, though slightly lower (κ statistic = 0.70) showed an adequate level for be used by forest managers.

Citation: Quintano, Carmen; Fernández-Manso, Alfonso; Fernández-Manso, O. 2018. Combination of Landsat and Sentinel-2 MSI data for initial assessing of burn severity. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 64:221-225. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jag.2017.09.014
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Effects Monitoring, Fuels Inventory & Monitoring, Post-fire Management, Fuels
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 17251
FRAMES RCS number: 24982
Record updated: May 24, 2018