Forest Fire Management: A Comprehensive and Operational Approach
Fabrizi, Roberto; Gomez, Antonio; Perez, Bruno
Ingeniería de sistemas para la defensa de españa s.a, SPAIN

Forest fires can be a major ecological disturbance agent that modifies landscapes, especially when normal fire frequencies and /or intensities are modified. The main negative fire effects are vegetation biomass loss, soil degradation, and greenhouse gas emissions. In the worst cases, fires cause not only natural and economical but also human losses (for example, 2007 fire season in Greece). A comprehensive study of a fire event requires early warning, crisis monitoring and, after the fire occurs, the interpretation of causal factors, fire effects and ecosystem responses, in a wide range of spatial (local to regional) and temporal (short to long term) scales. However, the lack of data, standard methodologies and economic resources makes this assessment often difficult and/or incomplete. Therefore, analysis of a fire event is usually centered in a post-fire evaluation of the burnt area and, in some cases, in the fire risk estimation. Wildfires show marked seasonal and diurnal cycles and can vary widely in its spatial location. Satellite Earth Observation is actually the only method able to provide repetitive data at the spatial and temporal scales necessary for detecting, quantifying and monitoring this activity, and for understanding the regional and inter-annual variations involved. Therefore, INSA proposed several fire products, integrated in a geoportal (webGIS), in order to support the crisis management:

  • Fire monitoring -the geographic location of the hot spots and associated parameters, and cloud mask. Fire detection algorithm has been developed in order to detect actives fires in the Iberian Peninsula with MSG SEVIRI (5 min and 15 min- delivery frequency) and MODIS (4 and 6 times per day). The algorithm is based on contextual approach selecting pixels which could potentially be fires and afterwards confirms the pixels by comparing the potential fires with their immediate neighbors. In addition, the algorithm retrieves temperature and burning area of hotspots following the Dozier’s approach and the fire radiative power.
  • Rapid burned area mapping -by the daily MODIS acquisition and processing, between 1 and 7 day after fire extinction.
  • Recovery: Recovery products are intended for an in-depth analysis of fire event, e.g. damage assessment or a synthesis of the fire event. High resolution fire perimeter can be provided at the end of the fire season, for fire inventory. Finally, fire products are completed by an automatic report which describes the fire event, evolution and damages, as well as the information included in other thematic layers (population, roads, infrastructures, vegetation cover and type, etc.) for the extraction of the affected population and resources.