Remote Sensing

Example Project: Rapid Burned Area Mapping (R-BAM)

With wildfire frequency and intensity increasing across most parts of the world, new methods for mapping wildfire progress and impact are needed. Hatfield develop its Rapid Burned Area Mapping (R-BAM) technology to provide wildfire agencies with accurate and timely information on the status and impact of wildfires by combining optical/thermal and radar data processing with machine learning analytics.

R-BAM automated workflow leverage time-series of optical satellite earth observation (EO) data to create cloud-free composite images to assess burn severity through change detection analytics as a wildfire progresses.

Hatfield continues to develop R-BAM technology and is testing the integration of radar data, with its capability to operate in presence of clouds, haze, and smoke. Radar is sensitive to the change in the structural characteristics of forest when a wildfire occurs, which can be used to map burned areas.

R-BAM products complement conventional wildfire observation and assessment techniques in support of wildfire response and recovery efforts.

2018 R-BAM application and testing

Many regions around the world are experiencing record-high temperatures and dry weather. Using satellite optical/infrared and radar data Hatfield is actively mapping wildfires across the globe.

R11498 – Shovel Lake Wildfire expansion (July 28 – August 22, 2018)

The Shovel Lake wildfire was discovered west of Fraser Lake on July 27, 2018. R-BAM revealed that the wildfire grew to a size of almost 4,000 hectares by July 31; 36,000 hectares by August 12th; to more than 81,000 hectares on 17 August; and to 97,500 hectares on 22 August, 2018. A high resolution version of the graphic is available for download.

Other example R-BAM products:

  • R11921 & R11498 – Burn Severity maps of Shovel Lake and Island Lake, Canada (12 August)
  • V62214 – Burn severity animation of Nanaimo Lakes, Canada (4-9 August)
  • Ljusdal Fire – Burn severity maps, Ljusdal, Sweden, (3 August)

Note: 2018 burn severity products are not calibrated by onsite field observations and should be interpreted with caution.

2017 R-BAM application and testing

Hatfield provided support to BC Wildfire Service by mapping almost 1 million hectares affected by wildfires across the province. R-BAM technology was used to rapidly produce burned severity maps that helped BC Wildfire and the forestry industry to assess wildfire damage on the forest resources across the province.

Example R-BAM products:

  • C20729 – Wildwood Fire (12,560 hectares)
  • C10784 – Plateau Fire (222,159 hectares)
  • K20637 – Elephant Hill Fire (93,245 hectares)

R-BAM technology development

R-BAM development is supported by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Earth Observation Application Development Program (EOADP). Early development activity began through a contract with the European Space Agency. R-BAM is built upon Hatfield’s Land Monitoring capabilities, which provides a platform for cutting-edge approaches to acquire, manage, and analyze data to deliver products and strategic insights.

Burn severity levels correspond to the magnitude of environmental change caused by fire and are classified according to Key and Benson (2005) for consistent interpretation of burn severity classes across multiple fires. While burn severity levels do not always relate directly to field-based assessments of burn severity, the description of burn severity levels by Miller and Thode (2007) provides insights as to the environmental changes corresponding to each burn severity level:

  • low (<15% change in cover)
  • moderate-low (15% to <70% change in cover)
  • moderate-high, (60% to <80% change in cover)
  • high severity (80% to 100% change in cover)

If you are interested in R-BAM technology and its application by your agency or company, please contact:

Andy Dean
Senior Geomatics Specialist

Tel.: +1-604-926-3261
Toll-Free: +1-866-926-3261

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