This project addresses several wildfire research questions using a unique remote sensing opportunity to analyze pre- and post-fire lidar data. The Pole Creek Fire burned 27,000 acres through various forest types in October 2012 in Deschutes National Forest near Sisters, Oregon. Lidar data were fortuitously collected prior to the wildfire for an unrelated study, offering a unique opportunity to investigate fire disturbance impacts and processes with high-resolution data. Research efforts include comparison of lidar and Landsat-derived burn severity, biomass and carbon accounting, fine-scale risk assessments, and fuel treatment effectiveness using multitemporal lidar data, Landsat 8 burn severity (dNBR and CBI), and change-analysis techniques. Field crews from the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Idaho gathered data on the fire to quantify the fuel load, understory vegetation, and tree characteristics. This research is quantifying how pre-fire forest condition affected burn severity and how various remote sensing techniques can be used to explain fire patterns and improve modeling of wildland fire and forest ecology.
Pre-fire and post-fire lidar-derived burn severity for the Pole Creek Fire, 2012. North is oriented toward the top of the image.