Several active fire signals were recorded by OSEI with the NOAA-14 POES AVHRR HRPT satellite on 12 January 2000 in the southeastern United States.
Fig. 1. Scattered heat signatures and a few smoke plumes from areas of fire burning in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
Some of these fires are probably due to prescribed burning.
(Source: NOAA http://www.osei.noaa.gov/)
The Wildland Fire Assessment System is a contribution of “The Fire Behavior Research Work Unit”, Missoula (Montana USA). The broad area component of the Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS) generated national maps of selected fire weather and fire danger components. Fire Danger (Potential) is a normalized adjective rating class across different fuel models and station locations. It is based on information provided by local station managers about the primary fuel model, fire danger index selected to reflect staffing level, and climatological class breakpoints. Low danger (class 1) is green and extreme potential (class 5) is red.
Fig. 2., 3. and 4. Fire Danger Forecast Maps of the United States and Alaska for 12 January (observation time) and 13 January (next day forecast; right map) 2000
(Source: Fire Behavior Research Work Unit, Missoula)
Remarks on Remotely Sensed Fire Events and Prescribed Burning
The high-temperature events depicted by the NOAA AVHRR satellite in the South and the Southeast are not all wildfires. At this time of the year prescribed burning operations are conducted routinely.
Fire is an important natural tool for ecosystem management. It can reduce dense vegetation improving wildlife habitat and lessening the potential for large, wildfire disasters. Land managers are directed to prepare a prescribed fire/burn plan for every area of public land that can burn. Some areas require total suppression while others will benefit from a wildland fire. Those areas that will benefit from a fire can be treated by a prescribed fire.
Especially, for the moment, in the southern and southeastern regions of the United States prescribed fire activities will be carried out in the following weeks and months. In this case, fire signals on satellite images can be traced back to this kind of land management activities.
In the Prescribed Fire Position Paper of the Forest Protection Bureau by the Division of Forestry in Florida, prescribed fire activity is described as a land management application that is essential to the practice of forestry, management of wildlife, preservation of endangered plant and animal species, improvement of range conditions and reduction of wildfire damage in the wildland/urban interface areas. While there is general public and landowner concern with increased smoke, reduced air quality, and liability; the general public and landowners benefit significantly from the reduction of devastating wildfire, improved wildlife habitat and forage, preservation of endangered and threatened plant and animal species, and improved management of forest resources. The prospect of severe reductions in the utilization of this management tool is of major concern to Florida’s natural resource managers and conservationists due to the subsequent loss of derived public and private benefits. They suggest the need for legislative attention.