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Assessment of Pre- and Post-Katrina Fuel Conditions as a Component of Fire Potential Modeling for Southern Mississippi

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Geographic information system models that assess fire hazard in southern Mississippi were developed in response to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Long time series of Landsat imagery, pre- and post-Katrina satellite imagery, and aerial imagery were integrated in a rapid-response sampling design to assess changes in fire hazard. The study assesses pre- and post-Katrina fuels as one component of fire potential models. Determining how these changes affect fire hazard is important for natural disaster response and recovery efforts. The analysis resulted in spatial depictions and summary statistics of fire hazard. Overall accuracy of the remotely sensed damage assessment was 72%. Because of the hurricane, areas of very low hazard decreased from 19 to 3%, whereas areas of very high hazard increased from 3 to 13%. These results were validated with actual fire occurrence data and indicate that increased numbers of fire suppression personnel may be needed for coming fire seasons in the region.

Keywords: GIS modeling; Hurricane Katrina damage; change analysis; fire hazard; remote sensing

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

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