How does the USFS map vegetation post fires?

The discussion of how the USFS deals with fires on public forests came up strongly in our recent SNAMP Public Meeting. Our Last Change field site burned in October, and we are very interested in understanding the behavior and impact of the American fire. Part of the discussion stemmed from this presentation on preliminary estimates for fire intensity, ascertained partly from analysis of WorldView imagery delivered at our SNAMP meeting. For more on the SNAMP presentation, check out our website.

The website (linked below) offers an initial description of post-fire vegetative conditions using the Rapid Assessment of Vegetation Condition after Wildfire (RAVG) process. RAVG analysis looks at fires that burn more than 1,000 acres of forested National Forest System (NFS) lands, beginning with fires that occurred in 2007. These fires result in direct losses of vegetative cover and many of the benefits associated with forested ecosystems.

NFS lands experience thousands of wildfires every year, most of which are relatively small. The largest fires typically account for 90% of the total acreage burned. RAVG analysis provides a first approximation of areas that due to severity of the fire may require reforestation treatments. These reforestation treatments would re-establish forest cover and restore associated ecosystem services. This initial approximation could be followed by a site-specific diagnosis and development of a silvicultural prescription identifying reforestation needs.

Some resources: