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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-145
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-145
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  15 May 2020

15 May 2020

Review status
A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal NHESS and is expected to appear here in due course.

A classification scheme to determine wildfires from the satellite record in the cool grasslands of southern Canada: considerations for fire occurrence modelling and warning criteria

Dan K. Thompson and Kimberly Morrison Dan K. Thompson and Kimberly Morrison
  • Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, Natural Resources Canada, Edmonton, Canada

Abstract. Daily polar orbiting satellite thermal detections since 2002 were used as the baseline for quantifying wildfire activity in the mixed grass and agricultural lands of southernmost central Canada. This satellite thermal detection record includes both the responsible use of fire (e.g. for clearing crop residues, grassland ecosystem management, and traditional burning), as well as wildfires in grasslands and agricultural lands that pose a risk to communities and other values. A database of known wildfire evacuations and fires otherwise requiring suppression assistance from provincial forest fire agencies was used to train a model that classified satellite fire detections based on weather, seasonality, and other environmental conditions. A separate dataset of high-resolution (LANDSAT 8 thermal anomalies) of responsible agricultural fire use (e.g. crop residue burning) was collected and used to train the classification model to the converse. Key common attributes of wildfires in the region included occurrence on or before the first week of May with high rates of grass curing, wind speeds over 21 km/h, relative humidity values typically below 40 % and fires that are detected in the mid-afternoon or evening. Overall, grassland wildfire is found to be restricted to a small number of days per year, allowing for the future development of public awareness and warning systems targeted to the identified subset of weather and phenological conditions.

Dan K. Thompson and Kimberly Morrison

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Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Interactive discussion

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Dan K. Thompson and Kimberly Morrison

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MODIS and LANDSAT images K. Morrison and D. K. Thompson https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3764193

Dan K. Thompson and Kimberly Morrison

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Latest update: 27 Nov 2020
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Short summary
We describe critically low relative humidity and high wind speeds above which only documented wildfires were seen to occur and where no agricultural fires were documented. We then applied these thresholds to the much larger satellite record from 2002–2018 to quantify how differing areas of the prairies see variable rates of wildfire and agricultural burning across Canada.
We describe critically low relative humidity and high wind speeds above which only documented...
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