Article Index

Post burn assessment

When a burn has been completed, it is assessed against the objectives set out in the prescribed fire plan. Factors such as the arrangement of the mosaic of burnt and unburnt patches can be determined through ground surveillance, aerial surveillance, satellite imagery or airborne scanners. The method used depends on weather conditions, burn locality, size of the burn area and the data required

Ground surveillance: The area is assessed on foot or vehicle to evaluate and measure the success of the burn against the objectives and success criteria set in the prescribed fire plan.

Aerial surveillance: Visual assessments from the ground or air may be used to evaluate and measure the success of a burn, with hand drawn maps or photographs used to illustrate the burnt area and to determine if the appropriate vegetation mosaic criteria was met.

Satellite imagery: LANDSAT and MODIS satellites are often used to map fires, depending on:

  • the resolution at which the fire is detected and mapped
  • the path of the satellite
  • the interval between overpasses
  • the extent to which the scene is clear or obscured by cloud or smoke, and
  • the cost of image acquisition and processing (i.e. whether manual or automated).

Airborne scanner: New airborne scanning technology is now used for post burn assessment of autumn burns in the southern areas of the state, where cloud cover often makes other techniques impossible.