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Quantifying burned area of wildfires in the western United States from...

Berman, M., X. Ye, L. Thapa, D. Peterson, E. Hyer, A. Soja, E. Gargulinski, I. Csiszar, C. Schmidt, and Saide Peralta (2023), Quantifying burned area of wildfires in the western United States from polar-orbiting and geostationary satellite active-fire detections, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 32, 665-678, doi:10.1071/WF22022.

Background. Accurately estimating burned area from satellites is key to improving biomass burning emission models, studying fire evolution and assessing environmental impacts. Previous studies have found that current methods for estimating burned area of fires from satellite active-fire data do not always provide an accurate estimate. Aims and methods. In this work, we develop a novel algorithm to estimate hourly accumulated burned area based on the area from boundaries of non-convex polygons containing the accumulated Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) active-fire detections. Hourly time series are created by combining VIIRS estimates with Fire Radiative Power (FRP) estimates from GOES-17 (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) data. Conclusions, key results and implication. We evaluate the performance of the algorithm for both accumulated and change in burned area between airborne observations, and specifically examine sensitivity to the choice of the parameter controlling how much the boundary can shrink towards the interior of the area polygon. Results of the hourly accumulation of burned area for multiple fires from 2019 to 2020 generally correlate strongly with airborne infrared (IR) observations collected by the United States Forest Service National Infrared Operations (NIROPS), exhibiting correlation coefficient values usually greater than 0.95 and errors <20%.

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Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition