Hyperspectral remote sensing of a moorland wildfire scar: the May 2008 Grindsbrook-Kinder fire

Julia Mcmorrow, F.M. Danson, G.D Clay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Wildfires are vegetation fires started maliciously or accidentally by people, or escaped land management burns. The Peak District has experienced over 360 wildfires since 1976, mainly in drought years such as 2003 and 2006. Most damaging are fires which burn into the peat carbon store, triggering erosion and long-lived fire scars which require costly restoration. However, regeneration is rapid from fires passing quickly through the vegetation canopy, leaving the moss and litter layer intact. Damage measured as ecosystem response therefore varies, depending on the condition of the peatland (including previous fire regime and degree of erosion), and fire behaviour factors such as fireline intensity and duration. A method of estimating this variability at the landscape scale is required. Burn severity metrics such as the normalised burn ratio have been developed for forests and used with varying success as proxies for fire intensity and ecosystem response. The aim is to test standard burn severity metrics on moorland vegetation in a degraded UK peatland, and to develop hyperspectral metrics for assessing burn severity on already exposed peat. The 11 ha wildfire scar lies on the Kinder plateau, near Edale, Peak District National Park. The fire occurred on 26 May 2008. ‘Hotspots’ burned for three days. Percent cover of charred stems, detached char, peat, litter and surviving vegetation types was recorded on 16-18 June for 42 burnt and 23 unburnt 0.25 m2 quadrats. Pre-fire vegetation maps allowed burnt and unburnt sites to be paired. Eagle and Hawk images and aerial photography were acquired by NERC-ARSF on 1 July 2008. ASD field radiometry was conducted at key plots and natural calibration targets. Peat blocks 60mm square were collected and laboratory spectra recorded for their top and base before and after oven drying to normalise for peat condition. The paper reports on analysis to date.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVisualising the World: From the Sea-bed to the cloud tops, 2010 Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society Symposium
Place of PublicationNottingham
PublisherRemote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010
Event2010 Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society Symposium - Cork, Eire
Duration: 31 Aug 20103 Sept 2010


Conference2010 Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society Symposium
CityCork, Eire


  • wildfire
  • burn severity
  • airborne remote sensing
  • hyprspectral
  • moorland


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