Saturday, May 2, 2009

UW Range students present wildfire damage assessment research in the 2009 Undergraduate Research Day

Adam Stephens and Brice Stanton (BS Rangeland Ecology & Watershed Management major) presented their research on mapping burn severity near Deadwood, SD using Landsat images acquired prior and after the Grizzly Gulch Fire.  Brice had first hand knowledge of the burn severity at these sites from his work with the US Forest Service.  They determined burn severity classes, based on the changes in the Normalized Burn Ratio Index (NBRI) values in pre- and post-fire images.

Sites that burned the most (high severity) witnessed a large drop in their NBRI values between the pre- and post-fire images, while the unburned sites had no change.  They were able to associate remaining burn categories to the magnitude of change in the NBRI values.

Post-fire Landsat infrared image
Post-fire NBRI image
Burn severity map derived from pre- and post-fire Landsat images

Describing the value of this project in terms of his career, Brice said "I learned how to use remote sensing and apply it to the forest, by either grass management, or by being able to map a fire, and by learning how to do this I will be able to use what I have learned to be able to make decisions on the forest that I work."

This presentation was the second presentation by the WyomingView interns in annual Undergraduate Research Day event.

Title:  Mapping Burn Severity within the Grizzly Gulch Fire Using Remote Sensing Techniques.
Their presentation can be viewed at UW Digital Library.