Geophysical Research Letters

Using remotely-sensed fuel connectivity patterns as a tool for fire danger monitoring

Authors

  • G. Caccamo,

    1. Institute for Conservation Biology and Environmental Management, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
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  • L. A. Chisholm,

    1. Institute for Conservation Biology and Environmental Management, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
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  • R. A. Bradstock,

    1. Institute for Conservation Biology and Environmental Management, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
    2. Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
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  • M. L. Puotinen

    1. Institute for Conservation Biology and Environmental Management, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
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Abstract

[1] Spatial connectivity of areas of dry fuels is considered a significant influence on the incidence of large fires. Precipitation patterns can dynamically affect fuel connectivity through controls on the distribution of dry fuels. Spatio-temporal monitoring of precipitation-driven variations in dry fuel connectivity patterns could therefore offer the potential to monitor fire danger. In this paper we present an innovative graph theoretic-based approach to monitor fire danger using remotely sensed patterns of dry fuel connectivity. We analysed the temporal evolution of dry fuel connectivity in south-eastern Australia during recent fire seasons. The analysis showed that rapid changes in the connectivity of dry fuels determine the pre-conditions for major fires. We found that large fires affected highly connected dry portions of the landscape, confirming the potential of this approach to monitor the temporal evolution of fire danger.

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