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Boots on the Ground and Eyes in the Sky: A Perspective on Estimating Fire Danger from Soil Moisture Content

Author(s): Sonisa Sharma, Kundan Dhakal
Year Published: 2021

With increasing forest and grassland wildfire trends strongly correlated to anthropogenic climate change, assessing wildfire danger is vital to reduce catastrophic human, economic, and environmental loss. From this viewpoint, the authors discuss various approaches deployed to evaluate wildfire danger, from in-situ observations to satellite-based fire prediction systems. Lately, the merit of soil moisture in predicting fuel moisture content and the likelihood of wildfire occurrence has been widely realized. Harmonized soil moisture measurement initiatives via state-of-the-art soil moisture networks have facilitated the use of soil moisture information in developing innovative applications for wildfire prediction and risk management applications. Additionally, the increasing availability of remote-sensing data has enabled the monitoring and modeling of wildfires across various terrestrial ecosystems. When coupled with remotely sensed data, field-based soil moisture measurements have been more valuable predictors of assessing wildfire than alone. However, sensors capable of acquiring higher spectral information and radiometry across large spatiotemporal domains are still lacking. The automation aspect of such extensive data from remote-sensing and field data is needed to rapidly assess wildfire and mitigation of wildfire-related damage at operational scales.

Citation: Sharma, Sonisa; Dhakal, Kundan. 2021. Boots on the ground and eyes in the sky: a perspective on estimating fire danger from soil moisture content. Fire 4(3):45. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire4030045
Topic(s): Fire & Fuels Modeling, Fuels
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 23495
FRAMES RCS number: 64281
Record updated: Sep 2, 2021