Quantitative Analysis of Forest Fires in Southeastern Australia Using SAR Data

Tariq A., Shu H., Li Q., Altan O., Khan M. R., Baqa M. F., ...More

REMOTE SENSING, vol.13, no.12, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/rs13122386
  • Journal Name: REMOTE SENSING
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, Compendex, INSPEC, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Prescribed burning is a common strategy for minimizing forest fire risk. Fire is introduced under specific environmental conditions, with explicit duration, intensity, and rate of spread. Such conditions deviate from those encountered during the fire season. Prescribed burns mostly affect surface fuels and understory vegetation, an outcome markedly different when compared to wildfires. Data on prescribed burning are crucial for evaluating whether land management targets have been reached. This research developed a methodology to quantify the effects of prescribed burns using multi-temporal Sentinel-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery in the forests of southeastern Australia. C-band SAR datasets were specifically used to statistically explore changes in radar backscatter coefficients with the intensity of prescribed burns. Two modeling approaches based on pre- and post-fire ratios were applied for evaluating prescribed burn impacts. The effects of prescribed burns were documented with an overall accuracy of 82.3% using cross-polarized backscatter (VH) SAR data under dry conditions. The VV polarization indicated some potential to detect burned areas under wet conditions. The findings in this study indicate that the C-band SAR backscatter coefficient has the potential to evaluate the effectiveness of prescribed burns due to its sensitivity to changes in vegetation structure.