Wildfires are a major ecological disturbance in Southern California and often lead to great destruction along the Wildland-Urban Interface. Live fuel moisture has been used as an important indicator of wildfire risk in measurements of vegetation water content. However, the limited field measurements of live fuel moisture in both time and space have affected the accuracy of wildfire risk estimations. Traditional estimation of live fuel moisture using remote sensing data was based on vegetation indices, indirect proxies of vegetation water content and subject to influence from weather conditions. In this study, we investigated the feasibility of estimating live fuel moisture using vegetation indices, Soil Moisture Active Passive L-band soil moisture data and the modeled vegetation water content using a non-linear model based on VIs and the stem factor associated with remote sensing moisture data products. The stem factor describes the peak amount of water residing in stems of plants and varies by land cover. We also compared the outcomes from regression models and recurrent neural network using the same independent variables. We found the modeled vegetation water content outperformed vegetation indices and the L-band soil moisture observations, suggesting a non-linear relationship between live fuel moisture and the remotely sensed vegetation signatures. We discuss our results which will improve the predictability of live fuel moisture.
S. Jia, S. H. Kim, S. V. Nghiem, W. Cho, and M. C. Kafatos, "Estimating Live Fuel Moisture in Southern California Using Remote Sensing Vegetation Water Content Proxies," 2018 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, p. 5587-5890, 2018.
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