Department of Geography

College of Liberal Arts

California State University, Long Beach


Abstracts of Conference Presentations


Dr. Christopher T. Lee

Along with Mr. Philip E. Dennison and Dr. Dar Roberts of UC Santa Barbara, Dr. Lee worked on a paper:
"Measuring Chaparral Fuel Type, Biomass, and Moisture for Fire Danger Assessment in Southern California," presented by Mr. Dennison to the Association of American Geographers, New Orleans, March 2003.

Coastal Southern California is a complex mosaic of residential development and fire-prone native vegetation. Fire-adapted chaparral located in close proximity to human activity increases fire hazard. Characterizing fuels within the wildland-urban interface is critical for determining fire danger and for modeling wildfire behavior. Hyperspectral and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) remote sensing permit quantification of chaparral fuel properties, including fuel type, biomass, and moisture. We employ multiple endmember spectral mixture analysis (MESMA) to map fuel types. Endmembers selected using within-class Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) criteria were used to optimize MESMA to improve vegetation species discrimination and map green vegetation, soil, and senesced grass fractions. To map total chaparral biomass, we used optical and radar data, which demonstrate strong relationships to herbaceous and woody biomass. A time series of Airborne Visible Near InfraRed Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) data spanning 8 years was constructed to evaluate optical response to fuel moisture. Potential measures of fuel moisture were evaluated using field-measured fuel moisture and modeled moisture status.

Presented a paper with graduate students, Ms. Romey Hagen and Mr. Aziz Bakkoury:

"Southern California Wildfire Hazards Center: A Regional Earth Science Applications Center," to the Association of American Geographers, Los Angeles, March 2002.

This poster seeks to present the Southern California center for managing fire hazards at the urban-wildland interface to address a continuing regional problem threatening life and property in the United States. This center is developed by a consortium of universities, research organizations, and the main fire fighting agencies of the southern California region, the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The urban-wildlands interface is an area of great concern throughout the nation when seeking fire hazard mitigation. In southern California, where wildlands vegetation is dominated by chaparral, a fire-adapted ecosystem, city boundaries and suburbs press against wildland vegetation, homes are intermixed within wildlands areas, and islands of wildland vegetation exist within metropolitan areas. The expanding urban-wildland interface further increases the risk of loss due to wildfire. The Southern California Wildfire Hazards Center uses the latest remote sensing instrumentation, both airborne and orbital, together with field and map data to attack the growing problem of fires in Southern California by addressing the need for timely, spatially continuous information delivered to the user community in usable formats. Previous work of consortia members provide the initial framework for the incorporation of new data sources and the development of new analysis techniques and database management tools, in close consultation with the firefighting community, to define and produce timely products that can be used as general planning and fire hazard prediction tools and potentially as inputs to fire behavior models.


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Last revised: 10/28/03