Professor Clark: CAL FIRE Wildfire Severity Modeling Research

May 6, 2022
burned trees

By Katia Katunaric, GEP Senior

Professor Matthew Clark has received new funding from CAL FIRE that will seek to assess where high severity wildfires will occur in California using satellite and other spatial data, such as winds. A core component of this research is data from the NASA Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) sensor on the International Space Station, which uses a scanning laser to measure the height profile of vegetation. This data will help predict vegetation fuels that can influence wildfire behavior. This research will involve undergraduate students in paid internships through the Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Analysis (CIGA) to help collect ground data from plots in forests around California. This data will help calibrate and validate models.

gedi image

Landscape-level airborne LiDAR point cloud from Big Basin Redwoods State Park, CA colored by canopy height, with GEDI footprints superimposed. (Right) Stand-scale vertical canopy profile from an airborne LiDAR point cloud and coincident GEDI LiDAR waveform (Figure by Chris Chris Hakkenberg and Pat Burns at Northern Arizona Univ.).