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Assessment of forest fire danger conditions in southern Spain from NOAA images and meteorological indices

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Traditionally, the estimation of fire danger is performed from meteorological danger indices that are computed for single locations, where the weather stations are located. Frequently, these locations are far from forested areas, and there is a need to spatially interpolate danger variables. Methods for spatial interpolation are always prone to error, especially for those variables that show a greater spatial variability (wind, mainly). Satellite images may be considered a good alternative for interpolation of danger values, since they perform a spatially exhaustive observation of the territory. This paper analyses the spatial distribution of the Canadian Drought Code (DC), part of the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System (CFFWIS), in the region of Andaluc}i´a (south Spain) following two procedures. First, maps of DC values were obtained from spatial interpolation of a network of 30 weather stations using the squared inverse distance algorithm. These results were compared with interpolation based on linear regression analysis, using National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) derived bands as independent variables. The most significant variables found for these empirical fittings were relative greenness, the ratio of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and surface temperature, and a temporal variable, which accounts for the variations in day length throughout the fire season. After several empirical fittings were obtained, the most precise estimation was found after adjusting the coefficients to the time period considered.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, University of Alcala´, Colegios, 2-28801 Alcala´ de Henares, Spain; e-mail: inmaculada,emilio,[email protected] 2: CSIC, Pinar, 25-28006 Madrid, Spain; e-mail: mpilar,[email protected]

Publication date: April 1, 2003

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