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MERIS Full Resolution data for mapping level-of-damage caused by forest fires: the Valencia de Alcántara event in August 2003

This paper concerns an estimation of burned area and fire severity levels in the area affected by the Valencia de Alca´ntara forest fire, an event that took place near the border between Portugal and Spain in August 2003. ‘Level-of-damage’ and ‘fire severity’ are both defined as the impact of fire on the vegetation. The study
presented herein uses satellite information from Envisat-MERIS (Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) and SPOT5-HRG (Syste`me pour l’observation
de la Terre – High Resolution Geometric instrument), ground data and ancillary maps. The methodology consisted of applying linear unmixing algorithms on a
post-fire MERIS image, using a post-fire SPOT5-HRG image and ground data for endmember definition. Satellite-derived level-of-damage information is used for
affected area estimation and for comparison with fire severity ground measurements. Satellite-derived level-of-damage is also compared with information from
the Spanish National Forest Map (NFM) to assess to what extent fire severity is related to particular forest types. Results reached so far reveal that MERIS
estimations on wildfire damage over forested areas may help in establishing degrees of affection, which is useful to plan forest restoration works.

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