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Evaluation of novel thermally enhanced spectral indices for mapping fire perimeters and comparisons with fire atlas data

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We evaluated the potential of two novel thermally enhanced Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM)‐derived spectral indices for discriminating burned areas and for producing fire perimeter data (as a potential surrogate to digital fire atlas data) within two wildland fires (1985 and 1993) in ponderosa pine ( Pinus ponderosa ) forests of the Gila Wilderness, New Mexico, USA. Image‐derived perimeters (manually produced and classified from an index image) were compared to fire perimeters recorded within a digitized fire atlas. For each fire, the highest spectral separability was achieved using the newly proposed Normalized Burn Ratio‐Thermal (NBRT 1 ) index ( M  = 1.18, 1.76, for the two fires respectively). Correspondence between fire atlas and manually digitized fire perimeters was high. Landsat imagery may be a useful supplement to existing historical fire perimeters mapping methods, but the timing of the post‐fire image will strongly influence the separability of burned and unburned areas.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Forest Resources, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 83844‐1133, USA 2: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, Montana 59807, USA

Publication date: 2005-11-10

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