SUPPORTING FIRE MANAGEMENT & CONTROL WITH INNOVATIVE EARTH OBSERVATION PRODUCTS
Fire is a natural and ecologically important process in many ecosystems. Anthropogenic land use intensification has led to a large, global increase in fire frequency and fire propagation, which has disturbed the natural balance in many ecosystems. Fire-related greenhouse gas emissions are major contributors to climate change. This holds especially true for fires in tropical forests. Mitigation measures related to fire management and fire control can be substantially supported by innovative Earth Observation products.
FIRE HISTORY ASSESSMENT
Assessing the fire regime and past emissions
Planning fire management measures requires a detailed, spatio-temporal analysis of the fire regime in the country/region. By using historical satellite data, burned areas that occurred in the last decades can be identified and measurable parameters such as historical fire frequency and fire interval per unit area can be derived. Fire-related emissions can be estimated from these parameters for the observation period. These "fire baseline“ parameters can form a basis for planning spatially-adjusted fire management measures.
MONITORING ACTIVE FIRES
Identify fire fronts and track their propagation
Fire management and fire control rely on the ability to precisely detect the origin and spread of active fires. This improves the planning of fire control and helps identify ecological consequences. Satellite technology plays an important role in detecting large-scale, active fires, especially in areas difficult to access such as forests. Innovative satellite sensors, such as those from the FireBIRD mission are used to identify active fires, track the propagation of fire fronts and measure fire intensity.
FUEL LOAD MAPPING
Supporting the Integrated Fire Management (IFM) in protected areas
One of IFM’s main goals is to reduce the negative impacts associated with uncontrolled, high intensity fires in the late dry season. To achieve this, controlled early dry season burning can be applied to pre-empty fuel loads and mimic natural fire regimes in the landscape. Dry vegetation is the main determinant of fire propagation, making the mapping of fuel load distribution and accumulation fundamental to planning prescribed burns. RSS provides a method to map fuel load conditions over large areas. The resulting maps prove to be very effective tools for IFM, as they allow priority areas for prescribed burning to be identified more efficiently, and also provide a means by which to evaluate fire and its management.