Studying fire patterns

UBC researchers are using drones to determine the extent of this years wildfire damage.

The drones are flown over fire zones to get a handle on the size of the burned area but they can also use the drones’ high-resolution images to create 3D models of the forests.

“We can observe the effect and severity of the fire on each individual tree and use all this information to really understand the general patterns in which fires occur,”

Previously, forests were surveyed using aerial imagery and satellite imagery.

The 3D models help researchers gather other information, “Like, how much timber is left standing? Can that be salvaged? And what is the condition of the dead timber—whether that’s likely to be a good habitat for animals of the future,” said Coops.

In 2017, B.C. witnessed its worst wildfire season on record with 11,900 square kilometres of land charred. At the peak of the disaster, 50,000 residents were forced to leave their homes.

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