Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) composite image data, produced from AVHRR data collected in 1990, were evaluated for locating and mapping the areal extent of wildfires in the boreal forests of Alaska during that year. A technique was developed to map forest fire boundaries by subtracting a late-summer AVHRR NDVI image from an early summer scene. The locations and boundaries of wildfires within the interior region of Alaska were obtained from the Alaska Fire Service, and compared to the AVHRR-derived fire-boundary map. It was found that AVHRR detected 89.5% of all fires with sizes greater than 2000 ha with no false alarms and that, for most cases, the general shape of the fire boundary detected by AVHRR matched those mapped by field observers. However, the total area contained within the fire boundaries mapped by AVHRR were only 61 % of those mapped by the field observers. However, the AVHRR data used in this study did not span the entire time period during which fires occurred, and it is believed the areal estimates could be improved significantly if an expanded AVHRR data set were used. © 1993.
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