Prescribed Fires

Step 2: Exercises – Use satellite imagery to track changes in Blackwater River State Forest

Satellite images can document active fires and their effects on the land from space. Use Google Earth Pro to view the satellite images of Blackwater River State Forest on 3 different dates following the fire, and document how the land has recovered.

  1. First, download the Guide to Using Google Earth and Calculations Worksheet (under Resources in the left column).
  2. Then, open up the KMZ file in Google Earth Pro. Use the Guide to Using Google Earth to draw polygons around the observable extent of the fire for each of the satellite images.
  3. Measure the size of the visibly disturbed forest, and record your measurements in the Calculations Worksheet.
  4. Analyze your findings: what do you observe about forest’s recovery?  At the current rate of change, how long do you think it will take for the forest to recover?
  5. Compare your estimate to imagery from January 11th 2016; has the forest recovered from the fire? Is this what you expected?