The distinctive 'burn scars' left across the land by forest fires can be identified from space as a specific reddish-brown spectral signature from a false-colour composite of spectral bands from optical sensors in the short wavelength infrared, near infrared and visible channels.
A new ESA-backed, Earth Observation-based service is making use of this fact, employing satellite imagery from SPOT and Landsat to automatically detect the 2004 burn scars within fire-prone areas of the Entente region of Southwest France, within the Puglia and Marche regions of Italy and across the full territory of Spain.
Burn scar detection is planned to take place on a seasonal basis, identifying fires covering at least one hectare to a standard resolution of 30 metres, with detailed damage assessment available to a maximum resolution of 2.5 metres using the SPOT 5 satellite.
Partner users include Italy's National Civil Protection Department, Spain's Direccin general para la Biodiversidad a directorate of the Environment Ministry that supports regional fire-fighting activities with more than 50 aircraft operating from 33 airbases as well as France's National Department of Civil Protection (DDSC) and the country's Centre D'Essais Et De Recherce de l'Entente (CEREN), the test and research centre of the government organisation tasked with combating forest fires, known as the Entente Interdpartementale.
"To cope with fire disasters, the most affected Departments in the south of France have decided to join
Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
European Space Agency