A Data Mining Framework for Forest Fire Mapping

Date of Submission: 
March 29, 2012
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Forests are an important natural resource that support economic activity and play a significant role in regulating the climate and the carbon cycle, yet forest ecosystems are increasingly threatened by fires caused by a range of natural and anthropogenic factors. Mapping these fires, which can range in size from less than an acre to hundreds of thousands of acres, is an important task for supporting climate and carbon cycle studies as well as informing forest management. There are two primary approaches to fire mapping: field and aerial-based surveys, which are costly and limited in their extent; and remote sensing-based approaches, which are more cost-effective but pose several interesting methodological and algorithmic challenges. In this paper, we introduce a new framework for mapping forest fires based on satellite observations. Specifically, we develop spatio-temporal data mining methods for Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data to generate a history of forest fires. A systematic comparison with alternate approaches across diverse geographic regions demonstrates that our algorithmic paradigm is able to overcome some of the limitations in both data and methods employed by other prior efforts.