Detecting landscape change due to wildfires using Landsat 8 imagery

Authors: Jason Yang*, Ball State University
Topics: Remote Sensing, Land Use and Land Cover Change, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: Landsat 8, wildfires, landscape change
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Thomas Fire, happened in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties during 2017 December, is the largest of the blazes in California history, and caused 281,893 acres of surface burned, 1,063 structures destroyed, and 280 structures damaged. In order to detect the landscape change and further to assess the damages caused by this fire, two satellite images covering this area obtained by Landsat 8 on April 14, 2017 and February 11, 2018 respectively are used in this study. Images are first pre-processed by correcting radiometric and geometric errors in the USGS Level-1 dataset, then the eight 30m multispectral bands are resolution merged with the 15m resolution panchromatic band. Standard imagery classifiers including Maximum Likelihood and Minimum Distance, combined with the two thermal bands are applied to detect the burned areas. The results are evaluated using high-resolution air photos on Google Earth and compared with publicly published data. This method provides a fast and accurate way for people who want to detect the landscape change and access the damages caused by wildfires using satellite imagery.

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