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This analysis concerns an estimation of burned area and fire severity levels in an area affected by a large wildfire that took place in the south of Spain in July 2004. Fire severity is defined in this work as the impact of fire on the vegetation. The objective was to find an efficient method for quick fire severity mapping based on remote sensing techniques that can be useful for postfire forest management.

This paper concerns an estimation of burned area and fire severity levels in the area affected by the Valencia de Alca´ntara forest fire, an event that took place near the border between Portugal and Spain in August 2003. ‘Level-of-damage’ and ‘fire severity’ are both defined as the impact of fire on the vegetation. The study
presented herein uses satellite information from Envisat-MERIS (Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) and SPOT5-HRG (Syste`me pour l’observation

The detection of forest fires and the determination of their parameters have been usually carried out by polar-orbit sensors: AVHRR, (A)ATSR, BIRD, and
MODIS mainly. However, their time resolution prevents them from operating in real time. In contrast, the new geostationary sensors have very appropriate
capacities for the observation of the Earth and monitoring of forest fires, as is being proved. GOES, MSG, and MTSAT are already operative, and they have

Recent advances in sensor technology have led to the development of new hyperspectral instruments capable of measuring reflected radiation over a wide range of wavelengths. These instruments can be used to assess the diverse characteristics of vegetation recovery that are only noticeable in certain parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. In this research, such instruments were used to study vegetation recovery following a forest fire in a Mediterranean ecosystem. The specific event occurred in an area called El Rodenal of Guadalajara (in Central Spain) between 16 and 21 July 2005.

Wildfires are a major environmental problem in many parts of the World, including some European countries around the Mediterranean where large
forest fires have often spread uncontrollably at frightening rates in recent years. Such fires play a critical role in many aspects of ecosystem functioning, such as biodiversity and hydrology. They can destroy large tracts of the landscape, as well as triggering the release of considerable amounts of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, thereby affecting the global atmospheric chemistry of our planet.

Tropical forests are known for hosting about half of the global biodiversity, and therefore are considered to be a fundamental part of the Earth System. However, in the last decades, the anthropogenic pressure over these areas has been continuously increasing, mostly linked to agricultural expansion. This has created great international concern, which has crossed the limits of national policies.

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