MODIS-GOES PG Hybrid Burn Scar Comparison

Extreme fire weather conditions set the stage for large grass fires across southeast NM and west TX on February 27, 2011.  The Enterprise fire began in extreme eastern Chaves County shortly after noon and quickly exploded to more than 30,000 acres in just a few hours.  The GOES PG Hybrid Visible imagery below shows a dramatic comparison between the two images where MODIS has been added.  The second set of images are the 1km visible and 3.9micron overlaid with NM roads.  Note the source region of the fire along highway 172 in extreme eastern Chaves County.  This fire burned quickly east across highways 457 and 206, nearly all the way across Lea County.  Note the distinct cigar-like shape to the burn scar.  This is a classic example of rapidly spreading, strong wind driven fire activity.  It is also interesting that the hot spot from the burn scar is picked up 11 days later on the 3.9micron imagery.  Perhaps this area was locally warmer than the surrounding landscape due to the change in soil conditions.  This will also potentially impact the severity of flash flooding during the wet season in this area of Lea County.

Hybrid Visible comparison 2045Z and 2215Z

This is a classic example of rapidly spreading, wind driven fire activity.

1km VIS and 3.9micron overlaid with NM roads. Note the source region near a highway in eastern Chaves County.

4 thoughts on “MODIS-GOES PG Hybrid Burn Scar Comparison

  1. Brian,

    That is an impressive series of images from a clearly serious situation. Many of the fire images we have seen in the past are for small “hot spot” fires. In addition to the flash flood concerns, how else would these observations be used?

    Thanks for the post!

    • Our WCM Kerry Jones recently imported the MODIS data into GoogleEarth to use for a presentation. The images overlayed with GoogleEarth were stunning! I imagine this data will be used for georeferencing to determine the most accurate size of the fire. With a timely set of images and accurate weather information, decision support providers may be able to use the imagery to quickly determine locations to direct resources and set up evacuation and relief shelters. Insurance adjusters could use this information with GIS to provide property and infrastructure damage estimates within the burn area. The MODIS data could possibly be ingested into a high resolution forecast model to better predict winds and temperatures over and downwind of the burn scar area.

  2. Fascinating (and unfortunately scary) stuff Brian. Seems like it’s been an active fire season so far, so hopefully you won’t have to use the hybrid for this purpose anymore!

  3. Yet another example of how this type of high resolution imagery can be applied to small scale features in ways not previously realized with current GOES imagery. And, an example of the value that will come with GOES-R geostationary imagery at this resolution. With greater experience using this imagery, more and more possible applications will continue to be realized.

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