Remote Sensing

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

Hatfield developed the Rapid Burned Area Mapping (R-BAM) technology to provide government agencies, private companies, and First Nations with timely and accurate information on wildfire burn areas and progression.

With wildfire frequency and intensity increasing across most parts of the world, R-BAM provides new methods to combine optical/thermal and radar satellite Earth observation (EO) data with machine learning analytics. R-BAM products complement conventional wildfire observation and assessment techniques in support of wildfire response and recovery efforts.

R-BAM Optical Services and Tools

R-BAM automated workflows process multispectral EO time series data to create cloud-free composite images to assess burn severity through change detection analysis as a wildfire progresses. The advanced R-BAM algorithms can use Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8, to provide maps and geospatial data that support wildfire response and recovery.

R-BAM Response Services and Products:

  • Perimeter and progression mapping – based on machine learning analytics
  • Active fire mapping – based on shortwave infrared and advanced cloud/smoke masking algorithms
  • Automated rolling calendar of upcoming acquisitions per fire or for entire province/territory

R-BAM perimeter and progression mapping tool is freely available under an organizational license to government wildfire agencies. Contact us for details.

R-BAM Recovery Services and Products:

  • Baseline cloud-free composite image + Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR)
  • Post-fire cloud-free composite image + Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR)
  • Difference Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR) and burn severity classification product, integrating information on land cover before fire (e.g., water, grassland, clearcuts)

R-BAM services are available from Hatfield to support wildfire response and recovery. Download the R-BAM Optical Services portfolio.

R-BAM Radar Services and Tools

Radar data have the 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. Hatfield continues to develop R-BAM technology and is testing the integration of radar data processing methods.

R-BAM Application and Testing in 2017 and 2018

Hatfield provided support to BC Wildfire Service in 2017 and 2018 by mapping more than 1 million hectares affected by wildfires across the province. R-BAM technology was used to support BC Wildfire Service’ response and recovery efforts by (1) providing rapid accurate information of fire perimeters and active fires as forest fire progresses and (2) producing burned severity maps that helped BC Wildfire and the forestry industry to assess wildfire damage on the forest resources across the province.

Examples of R-BAM response products:

  • G51632 – Tezzeron Lake Fire, BC, Canada (4,625 hectares)
  • R11498 – Shovel Lake Wildfire expansion, BC, Canada (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.

Examples of R-BAM recovery products:

  • Ljusdal Fire – Ljusdal, Sweden (10,049 hectares)
  • C20729 – Wildwood Fire, BC, Canada  (12,560 hectares)
  • C10784 – Plateau Fire, BC, Canada  (222,159 hectares)
  • K20637 – Elephant Hill Fire, BC, Canada  (93,245 hectares)

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)

R-BAM technology development

R-BAM development was 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.

Contact us for more information

If you are interested in application of R-BAM technology please contact:

Dr. Andy Dean
Senior Geomatics Specialist

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

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