Vol. 13, No. 1, 13-19, 2014

An application of the Perpendicular Moisture Index for the prediction of fire hazard
Carmine Maffei, and Massimo Menenti

Various factors contribute to forest fire hazard, and among them vegetation moisture is the one that dictates susceptibility to fire ignition and propagation. The scientific community has developed a number of spectral indices based on remote sensing measurements in the optical domain for the assessment of vegetation equivalent water thickness (EWT), which is defined as the mass of liquid water per unit of leaf surface. However, fire models rely on the live fuel moisture content (LFMC) as a measure of vegetation moisture. LFMC is defined as the ratio of the mass of the liquid water in a fresh leaf over the mass of oven dry leaf, and spectral indices proposed so far fail in capturing LFMC variability. Recently, the perpendicular moisture index (PMI), based on MODIS, was proposed to overcome this limitation and provide a direct measure of LFMC. The aim of this research was to understand the potential and limitations of the PMI in predicting fire hazard, towards its application in a practical context.

To this purpose, a data set of more than 7,700 fires recorded in Campania (13,595 km2), Italy, between 2000 and 2008 was compared with PMI derived from MODIS images. Results show that there is no relationship between PMI and fire size, whereas a linear correlation was found between the spectral index and fire rate of spread.

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DOI: 10.12760/01-2014-1-02

Submitted: 09 Feb 2014
Revised: 17 Mar 2014
Accepted: 24 Mar 2014
Published: 31 Mar 2014
Responsible editor: Ioannis Gitas

Maffei C & M Menenti, 2014. An application of the Perpendicular Moisture Index for the prediction of fire hazard. EARSeL eProceedings, 13(1): 13-19

EARSeL European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories, Strasbourg, France


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ISSN 1729-3782