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Live fuel moisture (LFM), defined as the ratio between water in the fresh biomass out of the dry biomass, is a vital measurement of vegetation water content and flammability. In this study, we investigated the dynamics of in-situ measurement of LFM at all the active sites in California, USA and revealed the difference between evergreen forest and shrub/scrub, the two dominant land cover types in California's fire-prone regions. We found that LFM of evergreen forest responses to soil moisture increase later than shrub/scrub, due to a later occurrence of major precipitation, a lower air temperature, and the different plant physiology. The comparison between SMAP L-band radiometer soil moisture and LFM showed that the lag between the rise in soil moisture and the response from LFM was much longer in evergreen forest. Compared with the evergreen forest, LFM of shrub/scrub was more sensitive to the inter-annual variability of soil moisture due to plant physiology and air temperature.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of a paper presented at IGARSS 2020 - 2020 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium in September-October 2020. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at


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