Monitoring fuel moisture and improving the prediction of wildfire potential in boreal Alaska with satellite C-band imaging radar

Document Type

Conference Paper/Presentation

Publication Date



Alaska currently relies on the Canadian Fire Weather Index (FWI) System for the assessment of the potential for wildfire and although it provides invaluable information it is designed as a single system which does not account for the varied fuel types and drying conditions (day length, permafrost, decomposition rate, and soil type) that occur across the North American boreal forest. Since 1999 research has been conducted to develop techniques for using Synthetic Aperture Radar to assess ground fuel moisture to improve the current fire danger prediction system in boreal Alaska. Research has been focused on recently burned forests using C-band satellite data. Analysis of the single channel SAR data resulted in two methods that can be used operationally, and a third time-series analysis method that is in need of further development but shows great promise in reducing the timeinvariant confounding factors of surface roughness and aboveground biomass. Current and future research is focused on L-band PALSAR to expand to unburned areas, and the recently launched fully polarimetric Radarsat-II instrument.

Publisher's Statement

© 2008 IEEE Publisher's version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/IGARSS.2008.4779486

Publication Title

IGARSS 2008 - 2008 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium