In arid regions around the world, forest fires around cities and even within city boundaries
and urban agglomerations are among major risks for residential and industrial areas.
Strategic planning of land use, forest management, and the capabilities of early
warning and the prediction of the evolution of any given forest fire can make
major contributions to improved urban safety and security, but also the improved efficiency
of fire fighting, allocation of fire fighting resources and their scheduling,
and thus the avoidance of potential damage.
Early warning using model-based medium and short-term forecasts (numerical weather forecasts,
data assimilation from monitoring and weather radar) can help to control the effects,
(including real-time decisoon support for fire fighters) mitigate damage,
but also contribute to a better planning and design of urban land use and fire
monitoring systems such as CCTV (IR) cameras.
The modeling of forest fires is based on detailed land use and vegetation data,
simulated (predicted) and measured soil moisture, temperature wind speed, humidity, precipitation.
The underlying models are MM5 (or WRF) for the meteorological forecasts,
and a land use dynamics model (LUC)
adapted for the prediction of forest fire evolution.
Land use/land cover and in particult combustable biomass is derived from satellite imagery,
using a vegetation index together with (model generated) soil moisture forecasts.
For the vegetation index, the fire simulation version of LUC uses VCF data.
(See: http://glcf/umd.edu/data/vcf, http://www.landcover.org )
The Vegetation Continuous Fields collection contains proportional estimates for vegetative cover types:
woody vegetation, herbaceous vegetation, and bare ground.
The VCF product is derived from all seven bands of the MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
(MODIS) sensor onboard NASA's Terra satellite. The continuous classification scheme of the
VCF product may depict areas of heterogeneous land cover better than traditional discrete
classification schemes. While traditional classification schemes indicate where land cover
types are concentrated, this VCF product is great for showing how much of a land cover
such as "forest" or "grassland" exists anywhere on a land surface.
For more detail, see the two mpg animations of simulation results: