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Use of GIS Spatial Analysis, Remote Sensing, and Unmanned Aerial Systems in Determining the Susceptibility to Wildfires in Barber County, Kansas.

Authors: Kara Sill*, Fort Hays State University
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Remote Sensing, UAS / UAV
Keywords: GIS, Remote Sensing, UAS, Wildfires
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Wildfires are becoming more frequent each year not only in the United States, but throughout the world. Barber County, Kansas experienced a devastating wildfire in March of 2016 and is also at a high risk during the fire season months. This study involved creating a functional GIS Database with layers corresponding to communication, transportation, and other infrastructure throughout the county. This will allow responders and officials to have one unified reference space, which will facilitate communication and navigation. Within the ArcGIS environment, route maps can be created to show potential routes and quickest drive time to the scene of the emergency. Another aspect of this project was to identify areas with the potential for large fire outbreaks. In order to monitor fire hazardous areas, Landsat imagery was utilized to identify potential outbreak areas using the Normalized Differential Vegetation Index. Using this imagery allows officials to track areas that are at risk of overgrowth and fuel build up. Finally, imagery taken from an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) was used to provide a different perspective of the fire front. Having the vantage point above the fire allows for responders to see exactly where the fire is currently active. The UAS also provided a more time efficient way of observing grassland conditions within the study area. While the focus of this project is in Barber County, Kansas, the techniques utilized can be transferred and utilized in other counties with similar vegetative and climatic environments.

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