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Multi-frequency, Multi-temporal, Brush Fire Scar Analysis in a Semi-Arid Urban Environment

Misner, Tamara Janelle (2004) Multi-frequency, Multi-temporal, Brush Fire Scar Analysis in a Semi-Arid Urban Environment. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The number of forest fires has increased dramatically over the past five years in western areas of the United States, due to both human and natural causes. Urban areas, such as the city of Phoenix, continue to increase in size and population, with a majority of the development occurring in rural areas that have burned, or are threatened by brush fires. As people move into these environments there is an increased risk of damage to human property and lives due to fires. These areas have experienced a number of recent brush fires that have been expensive to fight, and caused a considerable amount of property damage. The ability to predict and control fires is thus increasingly important as urban centers encroach upon rural lands. Remote sensing can be utilized to characterize fire scarred areas, and predict areas that have an increased risk for burning again in the future. Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflectance Radiometer (ASTER), Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM), and Spaceborne Imaging Radar - C (SIR-C) remote sensing data have been combined with a geographic information system (GIS) to characterize fire scars in a semi-arid urban area outside of Phoenix, Arizona. This data was also used to quantify the relationship of fire scar age to vegetative recovery. In addition to the remote sensing aspect of this project, an initial geomorphological investigation was conducted to determine the effect of fire on sediment flux and landscape evolution. Detailed topographic surveys, combined with sediment trap data, were used to examine differences in erosion between burned and unburned catchments. These results have implications for potential flooding risks due to removal of vegetative cover by fires. By combining remote sensing data with a GIS database, and through comparison with geomorphic/sedimentological investigations, this work may permit city officials and urban planners to better calculate potential risks for both future fire and flood hazards within the region.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Misner, Tamara
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRamsey,
Committee MemberAbbott, Markmabbott1@pitt.eduMABBOTT1
Committee MemberArrowsmith,
Date: 28 January 2004
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 3 December 2003
Approval Date: 28 January 2004
Submission Date: 17 December 2003
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Geology and Planetary Science
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: fire scar; GIS; hazard; remote sensing
Other ID:, etd-12172003-090422
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:11
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:54


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