Plant Flammability Modeled by Soil Moisture

Plant flammability can be measured as the live fuel moisture (LFM) or live fuel moisture content (LFM) in the field. U.S. maintains National Fuel Moisture Database, the world's largest field observation network of LFM to provide data ingestion into the fire behavior model utilized by the U.S. Forest Service to estimate wildfire risk along with other relevant metrics, such as dead fuel moisture (DFM), meteorological conditions, and vegetation types.

Satellite images from optical sensors can be used to estimate the LFM based on the empirical relationship between the LFM and vegetation indices. We improved the current model by introducing Soil Moisture data from NASA SMAP and separating the time series of LFM by different stages in vegetation growing cycle (green-up & brown-down) to account for the different roles that soil moisture plays in the vegetation growth.

Read our recent paper in Remote Sensing on this improved model for LFM estimation.

Check our presentation of this model at IGARSS 2019