Landscape Patterns of Burn Severity in the Soberanes Fire of 2016Christopher Potter*
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, USA
- *Corresponding Author:
- Christopher Potter Ph.D
Senior Research Scientist,
NASA Ames Research Center
Mail Stop 232-21, Moffett Field
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: November 16, 2016; Accepted date: November 29, 2016; Published date: December 02, 2016
Citation: Potter C (2016) Landscape Patterns of Burn Severity in the Soberanes Fire of 2016. J Geogr Nat Disast S6:005. doi: 10.4172/2167-0587.S6-005
Copyright: © 2016 Potter C. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
The Soberanes Fire started on July 22, 2016 in Monterey County on the California Central Coast from an illegal campfire. This disastrous fire burned for 10 weeks at a record cost of more than $208 million for protection and control. A progressive analysis of the normalized burn ratio from the Landsat satellite showed that the final high burn severity (HBS) area for the Soberanes Fire comprised 22% of the total area burned, whereas final moderate burn severity (MBS) area comprised about 10% of the total area burned of approximately 53,470 ha (132,130 acres). The resulting landscape pattern of burn severity classes from the 2016 Soberanes Fire revealed that the majority of HBS area was located in the elevation zone between 500 and 1000 m, in the slope zone between 15% and 30%, or on south-facing aspects. The total edge length of HBS areas nearly doubled over the course of the event, indicating a gradually increasing landscape complexity pattern for this fire. The perimeter-to-area ratio for HBS patches decreased by just 3% over the course of the fire, while the HBS clumpiness metric remained nearly constant at a relatively high aggregation value. Weather conditions during the Soberanes Fires showed maximum daily temperatures exceeding 30°C on seven different days (including the date of ignition), which puts the HBS to total area burned of this 2016 event near the expected percentage for large wildfires on the California central coast since the 1980s.