Title: Forest Fires in the European Mediterranean Region: Mapping and Analysis of Burned Areas
Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication Year: 2009
JRC N°: JRC56812
ISBN: 978-3-642-01753-7
URI: http://www.springer.com/earth+sciences/book/978-3-642-01753-7
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-01754-4_13
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Abstract Approximately 60,000 fires occur in the European Mediterranean region every year. On average, they burn approximately half a million ha of forest areas. The mapping of areas burned by forest fires is of critical importance for the analysis of fire impact and for the monitoring of fire recurrence and vegetation recovery in affected areas. An important contribution of remote sensing in wildfire monitoring is the mapping and analysis of burnt areas. Areas affected by forest fires present a distinct spectral response in the optical and infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which allows the mapping of these surfaces with the use of passive satellite remote sensors. On the side of active sensors, the synthetic aperture radar is also used for this purpose, especially in boreal regions, where continuous cloud cover prevents the use of optical sensors. Although remote sensing of burnt areas in the Mediterranean region has a long history, the operational implementation of remote sensing methods in national or regional Administrations is fairly new. The need of specialized personnel, dedicated hardware and software for image processing, and the lack of automation of the classification methods has prevented its operational implementation until recently. A large contribution to the success in the current use of remote sensing for burned area mapping is due to the increased processing capacity of modern computers and the ever increasing availability of remotely sensed imagery from a large variety of sensors, from the low spatial resolution in the order of km to the very high spatial detailed imagery in the order of cm. The choice of imagery depends, obviously, on the application at regional or local scale, and the frequency for which updates of fire perimeters are needed. The current chapter reviews the application of remote sensing for burned area mapping and its use in the Mediterranean region for operational fire monitoring. Additionally, it provides insights on future opportunities for the improvement of existing mechanisms, the acquisition and processing of satellite imagery, and the analysis of burnt areas.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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