Remote sensing techniques to assess active fire characteristics and post-fire effects

Leigh B. Lentile, Zachary A. Holden, Alistair M.S. Smith, Michael J. Falkowski, Andrew T. Hudak, Penelope Morgan, Sarah A. Lewis, Paul E. Gessler, Nate C. Benson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

711 Scopus citations


Space and airborne sensors have been used to map area burned, assess characteristics of active fires, and characterize post-fire ecological effects. Confusion about fire intensity, fire severity, burn severity, and related terms can result in the potential misuse of the inferred information by land managers and remote sensing practitioners who require unambiguous remote sensing products for fire management. The objective of the present paper is to provide a comprehensive review of current and potential remote sensing methods used to assess fire behavior and effects and ecological responses to fire. We clarify the terminology to facilitate development and interpretation of comprehensible and defensible remote sensing products, present the potential and limitations of a variety of approaches for remotely measuring active fires and their post-fire ecological effects, and discuss challenges and future directions of fire-related remote sensing research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-345
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006


  • Burn severity
  • Burned area
  • Ecological change
  • Fire atlas
  • Fire intensity
  • Fire perimeters
  • Fire radiative power
  • Fire severity
  • Normalized Burn Ratio
  • Normalized Difference Vegetation Index
  • Radiative energy


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