LANDFIRE Fuel Mapping

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The USGS uses remote sensing to map wildland fuel in the United States. USGS leads the Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools (LANDFIRE) program, which provides consistent and comprehensive maps and data describing vegetation, wildland fuel, and fire regimes across the United States, and (recently) in US-affiliated insular areas in the Pacific and Caribbean regions. Landsat satellite data and ecological models are used to create the LANDFIRE geospatial data layers showing vegetation composition and structure, surface and canopy fuel characteristics, and historical fire regimes. Using Landsat, the LANDFIRE program updates the geospatial information to incorporate major landscape changes such as wildfire, insect and disease and other management activities that alter the vegetation and fuels characteristics. The USGS is also integrating spaceborne lidar and small footprint lidar data collections to map forest structure where field data are sparse including Alaska and U.S. insular areas. In addition, the USGS is assessing the role of Landsat time series data and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) imagery to improve characterization of rangeland ecosystems where fuel mapping and modeling is especially challenging.

Author Name
Don Ohlen
Author Email