Geographic Analysis of Burn Severity for the 2013 California Rim Fire


Analysis of Landsat imagery was applied to classify burn severity within the 2013 Rim Fire area using the relative difference normalized burn ratio (RdNBR). Results showed 53,220 ha in the High Burn Severity (HBS) class and another 34,214 ha in the Moderate Burn Severity (MBS) class. Within Yosemite National Park, 12,084 ha were detected by RdNBR analysis in the HBS class and another 11,089 ha in the MBS class. The most typical ecosystem habitat detected within the HBS class was Ponderosa pine—Mixed Conifer forest, between the elevations of 1000 and 2000 meters or on slopes between 5 and 30 percent. Most of the HBS areas were located in areas where high levels of pre-fire fuels were quantified by 2013 Landsat vegetation index (NDVI) values between 500 and 800. The Low Burn Severity (LBS) class covered a higher fraction of areas where the duration since last fire (YSF) was less than 25 years, compared to the HBS class, which covered a higher fraction of areas where the YSF was greater than 60 years.

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Potter, C. (2014) Geographic Analysis of Burn Severity for the 2013 California Rim Fire. Natural Resources, 5, 597-606. doi: 10.4236/nr.2014.511052.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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