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Direct estimation of Byram's fire intensity from infrared remote sensing imagery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Joshua M. Johnston, Martin J. Wooster, Ronan Paugam, Xianli Wang, Timothy J. Lynham, Lynn M. Johnston

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)668-684
Number of pages17
Issue number8
Accepted/In press10 May 2017
Published29 Jun 2017


King's Authors


Byram's fire intensity (IB,tot; kWm-1) is one the most important and widely accepted metrics for quantifying wildfire behaviour. Calculation of IB,tot requires measurement of fuel consumption, heat of combustion and rate of spread; existing methods for obtaining these measurements are either inexact or at times impossible to obtain in the field. This paper presents and evaluates a series of remote sensing methods for directly deriving radiative fire intensity (IB,rad; kWm -1) using the Fire Radiative Power (FRP) approach applied to thermal infrared imagery of spreading vegetation fires. Comparisons between the remote sensing data and ground-sampled measurements were used to evaluate the various estimates of IB,tot, and to determine the radiative fraction (radF) of a fire's emitted energy. Results indicate that the IB,tot along an advancing flame front can be reasonably estimated (and agrees with traditional methods of estimation (R2 = 0.34-0.73)) from appropriately collected time-series of remote sensing imagery without the need for ground sampling or ancillary data.We further estimate that the radF of the fire's emitted energy varies between 0.15 and 0.20 depending on the method of calculation, which is similar to previous estimates.

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