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A Deep Learning Approach to Downscale Geostationary Satellite Imagery for Decision Support in High Impact Wildfires

Author(s): Nicholas McCarthy, Ali Tohidi, Yawar Aziz, Matt Dennie, M.M. Valero, Nicole Hu
Year Published: 2021

Scarcity in wildland fire progression data as well as considerable uncertainties in forecasts demand improved methods to monitor fire spread in real time. However, there exists at present no scalable solution to acquire consistent information about active forest fires that is both spatially and temporally explicit. To overcome this limitation, we propose a statistical downscaling scheme based on deep learning that leverages multi-source Remote Sensing (RS) data. Our system relies on a U-Net Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) to downscale Geostationary (GEO) satellite multispectral imagery and continuously monitor active fire progression with a spatial resolution similar to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) sensors. In order to achieve this, the model trains on LEO RS products, land use information, vegetation properties, and terrain data. The practical implementation has been optimized to use cloud compute clusters, software containers and multi-step parallel pipelines in order to facilitate real time operational deployment. The performance of the model was validated in five wildfires selected from among the most destructive that occurred in California in 2017 and 2018. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed methodology in monitoring fire progression with high spatiotemporal resolution, which can be instrumental for decision support during the first hours of wildfires that may quickly become large and dangerous. Additionally, the proposed methodology can be leveraged to collect detailed quantitative data about real-scale wildfire behaviour, thus supporting the development and validation of fire spread models.

Citation: McCarthy, Nicholas F.; Tohidi, Ali; Aziz, Yawar; Dennie, Matt; Valero, Mario Miguel; Hu, Nicole. 2021. A deep learning approach to downscale geostationary satellite imagery for decision support in high impact wildfires. Forests 12(3):294. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12030294
Topic(s): Fire Behavior, Simulation Modeling
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 22891
FRAMES RCS number: 62933
Record updated: Apr 7, 2021