Spatial mapping tracks forest fire zones

Spatialmapping tracks forest fire zones

24 November 2006

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India — Dry deciduous forest, Sandur range, Bellary division. At asettlement 2.3 km north-east of Bhavihalli, a forest fire rages.

In the moist deciduous forest of Dandeli range, Haliyal division, settlementdistance of 1.2 km south of Badgund, there is a fire in the interiors.

From recording real-time forest fire data to spatially mapping the sprawlingforest area, the Karnataka State Remote Sensing Application Centre (KSRSAC) hasgot the woods in its captivity. Using satellite images, the project, “Standardisationof geospatial database of Karnataka forest department,” has been able toidentify divisions that are prone to forest fire during summer.

The project,which took about two years to complete, covers 40,000 sq km offorest area in Karnataka with an open forest area of 10,835 sq km and 26,156 sqkm of dense forest, 37 territorial divisions and 10 wildlife divisions. It hasused Indian Remote Sensing Satellite 1-C and 1-D for the spatial mapping, saidKSRSAC director H Honne Gowda.

The spatial images have identified the extent of dry deciduous, scrub vegetation,evergreen, semi-evergreen forests and grasslands.

The spatial mapping comprises identification of fire risk zonation whereinpockets prone to forest fire during summer are indicated on the maps.

According to Puneet Pathak, deputy conservator of forests, remote sensing, thefire-risk zonation helps forest authorities manage pockets that are more proneto fires due to its proximity to the villages.

In this zone are the wildlife divisions of Nagarahole and Bandipur — drydeciduous forest; Muthodi — deciduous, semi-evergreen forest which has bamboo;Chikmagalur division with Bababudangiri where highgrasslands are vulnerable tofire; Shimoga division, Anandpura area which has teak plantations, Bhadravathiand Haliyal divisions with teak and bamboo plantations.

This apart, the agency has availed the services of US satellite Modis to capturereal-time forest fire data. Modis has on board NASA’s Terra and Aqua satelliteswhich have thermal censors.

These censors give out alerts based on rising temperature of the area.

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