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Article

Mapping Fine-Scale Crown Scorch in 3D with Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems

1
National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis, University of Montana, 32 Campus Drive, CHCP 428, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
2
Fire Sciences Laboratory, Rocky Mountain Research Station, US Forest Service, 5775 W. Highway 10, Missoula, MT 59801, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: James A. Lutz
Received: 24 February 2022 / Revised: 16 April 2022 / Accepted: 22 April 2022 / Published: 29 April 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Fire Science Models, Remote Sensing, and Data)
Remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) are providing fresh perspectives for the remote sensing of fire. One opportunity is mapping tree crown scorch following fires, which can support science and management. This proof-of-concept shows that crown scorch is distinguishable from uninjured canopy in point clouds derived from low-cost RGB and calibrated RGB-NIR cameras at fine resolutions (centimeter level). The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) provided the most discriminatory spectral data, but a low-cost RGB camera provided useful data as well. Scorch heights from the point cloud closely matched field measurements with a mean absolute error of 0.52 m (n = 29). Voxelization of the point cloud, using a simple threshold NDVI classification as an example, provides a suitable dataset worthy of application and further research. Field-measured scorch heights also showed a relationship to RPAS-thermal-camera-derived fire radiative energy density (FRED) estimates with a Spearman rank correlation of 0.43, but there are many issues still to resolve before robust inference is possible. Mapping fine-scale scorch in 3D with RPAS and SfM photogrammetry is a viable, low-cost option that can support related science and management. View Full-Text
Keywords: UAS; UAV; drones; photogrammetry; vegetation mapping; fire effects; prescribed fire UAS; UAV; drones; photogrammetry; vegetation mapping; fire effects; prescribed fire
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MDPI and ACS Style

Moran, C.J.; Hoff, V.; Parsons, R.A.; Queen, L.P.; Seielstad, C.A. Mapping Fine-Scale Crown Scorch in 3D with Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems. Fire 2022, 5, 59. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire5030059

AMA Style

Moran CJ, Hoff V, Parsons RA, Queen LP, Seielstad CA. Mapping Fine-Scale Crown Scorch in 3D with Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems. Fire. 2022; 5(3):59. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire5030059

Chicago/Turabian Style

Moran, Christopher J., Valentijn Hoff, Russell A. Parsons, Lloyd P. Queen, and Carl A. Seielstad. 2022. "Mapping Fine-Scale Crown Scorch in 3D with Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems" Fire 5, no. 3: 59. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire5030059

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