An overview of Burn Index as a remote-sensed-derived fire impact metric in wildfire hazard management

Authors: Sarah Lindbergh*, University of California - Berkeley
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Remote Sensing, Remote Sensing
Keywords: burn severity, wildfire hazard metrics, cross-disciplinary litterature inconsistencies
Session Type: Interactive Short Paper


Burn area assessment and remote sensing change detection techniques have been a common tool to understand wildfire effects. The extent to which these tools, and more specifically Burn Index (BI) can be correlated with wildfire management strategies and hazard characterization is still in potential for development. From a literature review, we identified that the main community benefiting the usage of BI are the ones interested in the biological and longer-term ecosystem impacts of fires, while the wildfire hazard and disaster research community focus on fire danger assessment that does not necessarily include fire impact metrics. A literature review on Burn index application in the Remote Sense community as well as the Wildfire behavior community uncovered terminology issues with fire severity or burn severity (impact metrics) versus fire intensity (behavioral metrics). This review on BI applicability demonstrates the latent potential of spectral discrimination of wildland fire burn scars to be incorporated as one of many remote sensing tools in the wildfire disaster management cycle, most specifically in the effectiveness of fire hazard rating systems

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