10 May 2023
 | 10 May 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Improving fire severity prediction in south-eastern Australia using vegetation specific information

Kang He, Xinyi Shen, Cory Merow, Efthymios Nikolopoulos, Rachael V. Gallagher, Feifei Yang, and Emmanouil N. Anagnostou

Abstract. Wildfire is a critical ecological disturbance in terrestrial ecosystems. Australia, in particular, has experienced increasingly large and severe wildfires over the past two decades while globally fire risk is expected to increase significantly due to the projected increase in fire weather severity and drought condition. Therefore, understanding and predicting fire severity is critical for evaluating current and future impacts of wildfires on ecosystems. Here, we firstly introduce a vegetation-type specific fire severity classification applied on satellite imagery, which is further used to predict fire severity using antecedent drought conditions, fire weather, and topography of the fire season. Based on a ‘leave-one-out’ cross-validation experiment, we demonstrate high accuracy for both the fire severity classification and the regression using a suite of performance metrics: determination coefficient (R2), mean absolute error (MPE) and root mean square error (RMSE), which are 0.89, 0.05, and 0.07, respectively. Our results also show that the fire severity prediction results using the vegetation-type specific thresholds could better capture the spatial patterns of fire severity, and has the potential to be applicable for seasonal fire severity forecasting due to the availability of seasonal forecasts of the predictor variables.

Kang He et al.

Status: open (until 21 Jun 2023)

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  • CC1: 'Comment on nhess-2023-69', Carolina Ojeda, 19 May 2023 reply

Kang He et al.

Kang He et al.


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Short summary
A framework combines a fire severity classification with a regression model to predict an indicator of fire severity derived from Landsat imagery (difference Normalized Burning Ratio (dNBR)) is proposed. The results show that the proposed predictive technique is capable of providing robust fire severity prediction information, which can be used for forecasting seasonal fire severity and, subsequently, impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems under future projected climate conditions.