The Peat Burns On: Making Sense of North Carolina Wildfires

Burn Severity map of Pains Bay Fire, Dare County, North Carolina.

Burn Severity map of Pains Bay Fire, Dare County, North Carolina.

Team Location: NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

Authors: Ande Ehlen, Christopher Newport University; Andrea Beale, Princeton University; Beth Brumbaugh, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Anthony Gaudino, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Ryan Green, Millard North High School; Ryan Johansen, Old Dominion University; Rachael Maingot, Clark University; Amanda Taylor, Louisiana State University.

Advisors/Mentors: Dr. Kenton Ross

Abstract: In 2011, North Carolina experienced drought conditions that contributed to numerous wildfires and greatly affected the state’s ecosystem and citizens. For this project, NASA EOS was used to map burn severity for the two largest fires during 2011 to show the impact of the fires on the ecosystem. To create these maps, Relative difference Normalized Burn Ratios (RdNBR) were calculated from pre- and post-fire NBRs. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Normalized Difference Moisture Index (NDMI) were derived from Landsat 5 TM data to show changes in vegetation cover and moisture, and the Normalized Multi-band Drought Index (NMDI) was derived from MODIS data to analyze soil moisture. Fire-risk assessment maps also were created using Landsat 5 TM data in ArcGIS. Together, these methodologies will provide project partners with more reliable, accurate tools to aid in soil analysis and fire prediction and prevention.

Summer VPS > Disasters