Integrating remote sensing and terrain data in forest fire modeling
AuthorMedler, Michael Johns, 1962-
AdvisorYool, Stephen R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractForest fire policies are changing. Managers now face conflicting imperatives to re-establish pre-suppression fire regimes, while simultaneously preventing resource destruction. They must, therefore, understand the spatial patterns of fires. Geographers can facilitate this understanding by developing new techniques for mapping fire behavior. This dissertation develops such techniques for mapping recent fires and using these maps to calibrate models of potential fire hazards. In so doing, it features techniques that strive to address the inherent complexity of modeling the combinations of variables found in most ecological systems. Image processing techniques were used to stratify the elements of terrain, slope, elevation, and aspect. These stratification images were used to assure sample placement considered the role of terrain in fire behavior. Examination of multiple stratification images indicated samples were placed representatively across a controlled range of scales. The incorporation of terrain data also improved preliminary fire hazard classification accuracy by 40%, compared with remotely sensed data alone. A Kauth-Thomas transformation (KT) of pre-fire and post-fire Thematic Mapper (TM) remotely sensed data produced brightness, greenness, and wetness images. Image subtraction indicated fire induced change in brightness, greenness, and wetness. Field data guided a fuzzy classification of these change images. Because fuzzy classification can characterize a continuum of a phenomena where discrete classification may produce artificial borders, fuzzy classification was found to offer a range of fire severity information unavailable with discrete classification. These mapped fire patterns were used to calibrate a model of fire hazards for the entire mountain range. Pre-fire TM, and a digital elevation model produced a set of co-registered images. Training statistics were developed from 30 polygons associated with the previously mapped fire severity. Fuzzy classifications of potential burn patterns were produced from these images. Observed field data values were displayed over the hazard imagery to indicate the effectiveness of the model. Areas that burned without suppression during maximum fire severity are predicted best. Areas with widely spaced trees and grassy understory appear to be misrepresented, perhaps as a consequence of inaccuracies in the initial fire mapping.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Geography and Regional Development