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Assessing Wildfire Risk in Cultural Heritage Properties Using High Spatial and Temporal Resolution Satellite Imagery and Spatially Explicit Fire Simulations: The Case of Holy Mount Athos, Greece

1
Laboratory of Forest Remote Sensing, Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources, Democritus University of Thrace, Orestiada, 68200, Greece
2
The Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), Fire Ecology Research Group, c/o Freiburg University, Georges-Köhler-Allee 75, D-79110 Freiburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Dave Verbyla and Timothy A. Martin
Forests 2016, 7(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7020046
Received: 15 November 2015 / Revised: 4 February 2016 / Accepted: 14 February 2016 / Published: 19 February 2016
Fire management implications and the design of conservation strategies on fire prone landscapes within the UNESCO World Heritage Properties require the application of wildfire risk assessment at landscape level. The objective of this study was to analyze the spatial variation of wildfire risk on Holy Mount Athos in Greece. Mt. Athos includes 20 monasteries and other structures that are threatened by increasing frequency of wildfires. Site-specific fuel models were created by measuring in the field several fuel parameters in representative natural fuel complexes, while the spatial extent of the fuel types was determined using a synergy of high-resolution imagery and high temporal information from medium spatial resolution imagery classified through object-based analysis and a machine learning classifier. The Minimum Travel Time (MTT) algorithm, as it is embedded in FlamMap software, was applied in order to evaluate Burn Probability (BP), Conditional Flame Length (CFL), Fire Size (FS), and Source-Sink Ratio (SSR). The results revealed low burn probabilities for the monasteries; however, nine out of the 20 monasteries have high fire potential in terms of fire intensity, which means that if an ignition occurs, an intense fire is expected. The outputs of this study may be used for decision-making for short-term predictions of wildfire risk at an operational level, contributing to fire suppression and management of UNESCO World Heritage Properties. View Full-Text
Keywords: image segmentation; RapidEye; Landsat 8; random forests; landscape wildfire behavior; wildfire exposure; UNESCO World Heritage Properties image segmentation; RapidEye; Landsat 8; random forests; landscape wildfire behavior; wildfire exposure; UNESCO World Heritage Properties
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Mallinis, G.; Mitsopoulos, I.; Beltran, E.; Goldammer, J. Assessing Wildfire Risk in Cultural Heritage Properties Using High Spatial and Temporal Resolution Satellite Imagery and Spatially Explicit Fire Simulations: The Case of Holy Mount Athos, Greece. Forests 2016, 7, 46.

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