Sensing and data technologies for improving wildland fire science
Presenting Author: Nancy French
Organization: Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI)
Co-Author(s): Mary Ellen Miller, Michael Billmire, Laura Bourgeau-Chavez, Michael Battaglia, Liza Jenkins, Jeremy Graham, Andrew Poley, and Evan Kane
NASA Remote Sensing technologies are a critical component of wildland fire research and management. In the pre-fire stage of the wildland fire cycle, earth observations are used to map fuels and fire danger. Accurate fuel maps are important for determining fuel moisture, types and loads for modeling fire behavior and predicting emissions. L and C-Band SAR radar measurements of soil and fuel moisture can help initiate and inform the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System. Rapid acquisition and dissemination of thermal imagery is critically important for managing active wildfires. In order to protect fire fighters and values at risk, fire managers need accurate information on where the fire is and where it will be in the future. Communication of this information is vital to protect lives and homes. To assist in active fire management the Earth Observation Depot Network (EODN) is being developed to address infrastructure issues such as damaged or low capacity communication equipment found in rural areas. Smoke from wildfires pose a significant risk to human health and contributes to the global carbon cycle. The Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment (FASMEE) is conducting large-scale experimental burns in order to study plume formation, emissions, and transport of harmful particulates. Even after the smoke clears, wildfires continue to pose a threat to lives, resources and property due to increased runoff and erosion. The Rapid Response Erosion Database was created to assist in assessing and planning post-fire remediation by facilitating the use of process based hydrological modeling with Earth Observations of soil burn severity. AppEEARS data and visualization tools can help monitor post-fire vegetation recovery. Optical and SAR data are being applied to monitor the impacts of wildfire on Boreal and Arctic ecosystems as part of ABoVE project. Research at Michigan Tech encompasses the entire wildland fire cycle and includes both basic and applied science.