Canadian Forest Service Publications

Near Real-Time Wildfire Progression Monitoring with Sentinel-1 SAR Time Series and Deep Learning. 2020. Ban, Y., Zhang, P., Nascetti, A., Bevington, A.R., Wulder, M.A. Sci Rep 10, 1322.

Year: 2020

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40131

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-56967-x

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Abstract

In recent years, the world witnessed many devastating wildfires that resulted in destructive human and environmental impacts across the globe. Emergency response and rapid response for mitigation calls for effective approaches for near real-time wildfire monitoring. Capable of penetrating clouds and smoke, and imaging day and night, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) can play a critical role in wildfire monitoring. In this communication, we investigated and demonstrated the potential of Sentinel-1 SAR time series with a deep learning framework for near real-time wildfire progression monitoring. The deep learning framework, based on a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN), is developed to detect burnt areas automatically using every new SAR image acquired during the wildfires and by exploiting all available pre-fire SAR time series to characterize the temporal backscatter variations. The results show that Sentinel-1 SAR backscatter can detect wildfires and capture their temporal progression as demonstrated for three large and impactful wildfires: the 2017 Elephant Hill Fire in British Columbia, Canada, the 2018 Camp Fire in California, USA, and the 2019 Chuckegg Creek Fire in northern Alberta, Canada. Compared to the traditional log-ratio operator, CNN-based deep learning framework can better distinguish burnt areas with higher accuracy. These findings demonstrate that spaceborne SAR time series with deep learning can play a significant role for near real-time wildfire monitoring when the data becomes available at daily and hourly intervals with the launches of RADARSAT Constellation Missions in 2019, and SAR CubeSat constellations.

Plain Language Summary

In recent years, the world witnessed many devastating wildfires that resulted in destructive human and environmental impacts across the globe. Emergency response and rapid response for mitigation calls for effective approaches for near real-time wildfire monitoring. Capable of penetrating clouds and smoke, and imaging day and night, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) can play a critical role in wildfire monitoring. In this communication, we investigated and demonstrated the potential of Sentinel-1 SAR time series with a deep learning framework for near real-time wildfire progression monitoring. The deep learning framework, based on a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN), is developed to detect burnt areas automatically using every new SAR image acquired during the wildfires and by exploiting all available pre-fire SAR time series to characterize the temporal backscatter variations. The results show that Sentinel-1 SAR backscatter can detect wildfires and capture their temporal progression.