Satellite-Based Fire Progression Mapping: A Comprehensive Assessment for Large Fires in Northern California
Satellite-based active fire (AF) products provide opportunities for constructing continuous fire progression maps, a critical dataset needed for improved fire behavior modeling and fire management. This study aims to investigate the geospatial interpolation techniques in mapping the daily fire progression and assess the accuracy of the derived maps from multisensor AF products. We focused on 42 large wildfires greater than 5000 acres in Northern California from 2017 to 2018, where the USDA Forest Service National Infrared Operations (NIROPS) daily fire perimeters were available for the comparison. The standard AF products from the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS), the visible infrared imaging radiometer suite (VIIRS), and the combined products were used as inputs. We found that the estimated fire progression areas generated by the natural neighbor method with the combined MODIS and VIIRS AF input layers performed the best, with R 2 of 0.7 ± 0.31 and RMSE of 1.25 ± 1.21 (10 3 acres) at a daily time scale; the accuracy was higher when assessed at a two-day rolling window, e.g., R 2 of 0.83 ± 0.20 and RMSE of 0.74 ± 0.94 (10 3 acres). A relatively higher spatial accuracy was found using the 375 m VIIRS AF product as inputs, with a kappa score of 0.55 and an overall accuracy score of 0.59, when interpolated with the natural neighbor method. Furthermore, the locational pixel-based comparison showed 61% matched to a single day and an additional 25% explained within ±1 day of the estimation, revealing greater confidence in fire progression estimation at a two-day moving time interval. This study demonstrated the efficacy and potential improvements of daily fire progression mapping at local and regional scales.