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Project Abstract

Post Fire Image

The Joint NPS-USGS National Burn Severity Mapping Project addresses the need to quantify fire effects over large, often-remote regions and long time intervals. It reflects collaborative efforts to bring previous research into operational implementation for fire managers and scientists. The project focuses on National Park Service Units and adjoining lands throughout the U.S., mostly beginning with fire-year 2000, although earlier burns have been examined in some areas. It combines processing, data archive, and remote sensing expertise of the USGS EROS Data Center with the local knowledge and field sampling capability of the NPS, and the fire-effects research of the USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center to deliver an effective yet simple approach to mapping severity. The goal is long-term monitoring by means of standardized geographic databases employing consistent measures of "burn severity", viewed as a scaled index gauging the magnitude of ecological change caused by fire. The process uses Landsat 30-meter data and a derived radiometric value called the Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR). The difference between pre-and post-fire NBR datasets is computed to determine the extent and degree of landscape change resulting from fire. Depending upon timing of post-fire acquisitions and use of similar phenology in scene pairs, the differenced NBR is hypothesized to correlate with ecological burn severity. Results are appropriate for a landscape perspective of whole burns, revealing their spatial heterogeneity and how fires interact with vegetation and topography at moderate scale and resolution.

This web site provides access to Landsat data and products generated for specific fires. Search and query functions lead users to individual burn information pages. From there, product deliverables may be retrieved, including textual information, graphic images, digital spatial data, and metadata. Through such standardized methodology and products, information can be compared or aggregated across multiple burns. Users should carefully review the following links for proper interpretation and application of products: Overview, Methodology, and Data Contents.

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