Accurate information about three-dimensional canopy structure and wildland fuel across the landscape is necessary for fire behaviour modelling system predictions. Remotely sensed data are invaluable for assessing these canopy characteristics over large areas; lidar data, in particular, are uniquely suited for quantifying three-dimensional canopy structure. Although lidar data are increasingly available, they have rarely been applied to wildland fuels mapping efforts, mostly due to two issues. First, the Landscape Fire and Resource Planning Tools (LANDFIRE) program, which has become the default source of large-scale fire behaviour modelling inputs for the US, does not currently incorporate lidar data into the vegetation and fuel mapping process because spatially continuous lidar data are not available at the national scale. Second, while lidar data are available for many land management units across the US, these data are underutilized for fire behaviour applications. This is partly due to a lack of local personnel trained to process and analyse lidar data. This investigation addresses these issues by developing the Creating Hybrid Structure from LANDFIRE/lidar Combinations (CHISLIC) tool. CHISLIC allows individuals to automatically generate a suite of vegetation structure and wildland fuel parameters from lidar data and infuse them into existing LANDFIRE data sets. CHISLIC will become available for wider distribution to the public through a partnership with the U.S. Forest Services Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS) and may be incorporated into the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS) with additional design and testing. WFAS and WFDSS are the primary systems used to support tactical and strategic wildland fire management decisions.
Peterson, B., Nelson, K. J., Seielstad, C., Stoker, J., Jolly, W. M., & Parsons, R. (2015). Automated integration of lidar into the LANDFIRE product suite. Remote Sensing Letters, 6(3), 247–256. https://doi.org/10.1080/2150704X.2015.1029086