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Predicting slow‐drying fire weather index fuel moisture codes with NOAA‐AVHRR images in Canada's northern boreal forests

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Fire danger predicted by the Canadian Fire Weather Index, a system based on point‐source weather records, is limited spatially. NOAA‐AVHRR images were used to model two slow‐drying fuel moisture codes, the duff moisture code and the drought code of the fire weather index, in boreal forests of a 250,000 km 2 portion of northern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories, Canada. Temporal and spatial factors affecting both codes and spectral variables (normalized difference vegetation index, surface temperature, relative greenness, and the ratio between normalized difference vegetation index and surface temperature) were identified. Models were developed on a yearly and seasonal basis. They were strongest in spring, but had a tendency to saturate. Drought code was best modelled ( R 2  = 0.34–0.75) in the spring of 1995 when data were categorized spatially by broad forest cover types. These models showed improved spatial resolution by mapping drought code at the pixel level compared to broadly interpolated weather station‐based estimates. Limitations and possible improvements of the study are also discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management, P.O. Box 44555, 28 Dineen Drive, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, E3B 6C2 2: Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, 1219 Queen Street East, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, P6A 5M7

Publication date: September 20, 2006

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