Monitoring live fuel moisture content of heathland, shrubland and sclerophyll forest in south-eastern Australia using MODIS data
"Live fuel moisture content is an important variable for assessing fire risk. Satellite observations provide the potential for monitoring fuel moisture across large areas. The objective of this study was to use data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer to monitor live fuel moisture content of three fire-prone vegetation types (shrubland, heathland and sclerophyll forest) in south-eastern Australia. The performances of four spectral indices (Normalised Difference Vegetation Index, Visible Atmospherically Resistant Index, Normalised Difference Infrared Index centred on 1650 nm and Normalised Difference Water Index) were compared. Models based on Visible Atmospherically Resistant Index and Normalised Difference Infrared Index centred on 1650 nm provided the best results (R-2 values of 0.537 and 0.586). An empirical model based on these two indices was developed and its performance compared with a meteorological index traditionally used in this context, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index. The empirical model (R-2 = 0.692) outperformed the meteorological index (R-2 = 0.151), showing an enhanced capability to predict live fuel moisture content of the fire-prone vegetation types considered."