Measuring radiant emissions from entire prescribed fires with ground, airborne and satellite sensors - RxCADRE 2012
Characterising radiation from wildland fires is an important focus of fire science because radiation relates directly to the combustion process and can be measured across a wide range of spatial extents and resolutions. As part of a more comprehensive set of measurements collected during the 2012 Prescribed Fire Combustion and Atmospheric Dynamics Research (RxCADRE) field campaign, we used ground, airborne and spaceborne sensors to measure fire radiative power (FRP) from whole fires, applying different methods to small (2 ha) and large (>100 ha) burn blocks. For small blocks (n = 6), FRP estimated from an obliquely oriented long-wave infrared (LWIR) camera mounted on a boom lift were compared with FRP derived from combined data from tower-mounted radiometers and remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS). For large burn blocks (n = 3), satellite FRP measurements from the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensors were compared with near-coincident FRP measurements derived from a LWIR imaging system aboard a piloted aircraft. We describe measurements and consider their strengths and weaknesses. Until quantitative sensors exist for small RPAS, their use in fire research will remain limited. For oblique, airborne and satellite sensors, further FRP measurement development is needed along with greater replication of coincident measurements, which we show to be feasible.