Monitoring the Southern California Lake Fire Damage from Space
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Monitoring the Southern California Lake Fire Damage from Space

Monitoring | Real Estate

Satellite imagery is used to identify areas of fire risk, estimate the areas damaged by fire, and calculate the areas of highest priority for fire response crews. Today, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the South California Lake Fire from August 2020 and the techniques that emergency response and private insurers use to evaluate fire risk.

 

South California Lake Fire

Seven days have already passed since the Southern California Lake Fire started, and the fire continues to burn. It has burned more than 10,000 hectares, of which 38% is already contained. More than 4000 structures remain threatened and a mandatory evacuation is in place to protect Californians. 

The fire started August 12, 2020, in the evening, within the densely forested area of the Angeles National Forest. The cause of the wildfire is still unknown and has threatened thousands of structures as the fire spreads further into the nearby areas of Lake Hughes, Sawmill Mountain, Burnt Peak, Little Burnt Peak, and Pine Mountain Road.

Multiple satellite image acquisitions over the area show the still burning wildfire and smoke clouds within the Angeles National Forest. The images below show satellite images captured the morning before the wildfire as compared to the ongoing wildfire on August 14, 2020. You’ll see smoke from fires still burn the dried-up vegetation within the area.

Before the Southern California Lake FireDuring the Southern California Lake Fire
Unprocessed satellite imagery before and during the South California Lake wildfire

 

The extent of wildfire can be also seen by comparing the loss of vegetation on the affected areas of the wildfire by creating false-color imagery through the use of the near-infrared band sensor equipped within the satellite sensor.

Before the Southern California Lake FireDuring the Southern California Lake Fire
Processed satellite imagery before and during the South California Lake wildfire

 

The image on the left shows dry vegetation highlighted in red. The image on the right uses false-color imagery to highlight the extent of vegetation loss due to the wildfire. The color red on the right image indicates vegetation loss observed by the satellite sensor.

As the wildfire continues to spread, Proimagery will continue to post updated satellite images through this page to provide relative information regarding this event. Inciweb also provides regular updates from official sources.

Conclusion

From the above imagery, you can see that we already have the tools to identify areas at high risk of a forest fire. Furthermore, we can utilize the same data & tools to predict which houses need to be evacuated and when. If you would like to know more about how Proimagery can protect against wildfire risk, reach out to us!

Update: Now that the fire has been extinguished, Proimagery would like to thank all of the emergency response teams for their quick and decisive action.