U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



International Journal of Wildland Fire, 2006, 15, 319–345


Space and airborne sensors have been used to map area burned, assess characteristics of active fires, and characterize post-fire ecological effects. Confusion about fire intensity, fire severity, burn severity, and related terms can result in the potential misuse of the inferred information by land managers and remote sensing practitioners who require unambiguous remote sensing products for fire management. The objective of the present paper is to provide a comprehensive review of current and potential remote sensing methods used to assess fire behavior and effects and ecological responses to fire. We clarify the terminology to facilitate development and interpretation of comprehensible and defensible remote sensing products, present the potential and limitations of a variety of approaches for remotely measuring active fires and their post-fire ecological effects, and discuss challenges and future directions of fire-related remote sensing research.