Remote Sensing of Chaparral Fire Potential: Case Study in Topanga Canyon, California.
CALIFORNIA UNIV RIVERSIDE DEPT OF GEOGRAPHY
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Urban expansion into areas of chaparral vegetation has greatly increased the danger of wildland fires in settled areas, particularly in southern California. Fires in Topanga Canyon, for example, have been especially severe. Reliable methods of predicting the potential hazard for chaparral fires to man and his settlements in such areas are needed. Aerial photography, using color infrared film, was examined to determine potential fire hazard in Topanga Canyon, and maps indicating potential fire hazard were constructed. A subsequent field survey verified the accuracy of these maps, though the failure to obtain stereoscopic coverage of the study area resulted in a general underestimation of slope as a factor in fire hazard analysis. Remote sensing techniques, especially the use of color infrared aerial photography, provide a useful tool for fire hazard analysis, including interpetive information about fuel volumes, physiognomic plant groupings, the relationships of buildings to both natural and planted vegetation, and fire vulnerability of roofing materials. In addition, the behavior of the September, 1970 Wright Fire in the Topanga study area suggested the validity of the fire potential analysis which had been made prior to that conflagration. Author
- Safety Engineering