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Abstract Forest fire is a major cause of changes in forest structure and function.

Forest fires are as
old as forests themselves. Forest fires are one of the major natural risks in the Uttarakhand forests. In
such areas, fires occur frequently and there is a need for supranational approaches that analyze wide
scenarios of factors involved. It is impossible to control nature, but is possible to map forest fire risk
zone and thereby minimize the frequency of fire. Forest and wild land fire are considered vital natural
processes initiating natural exercises of vegetation succession. However uncontrolled and misuse of
fire can cause tremendous adverse impacts on the environment and the human society. A risk model
for fire spreading is set up for Kansrao Forest Range of Rajaji National Park where Forest and wild
land fires have been taking place historically, shaping landscape structure, pattern and ultimately the
species composition of ecosystems both flora and fauna. It is based upon a combination of remote
sensing and GIS data. In this study, Resourcesat P6 – LISS III (spatial resolution 23.5m, 4 bands
(Red) (Green) (NIR) (SWIR), Topo Sheet (SOI) no.53 J/4 on scale 1:50,000 and contour interval 20
meters, ASTER 30m and Garmin 72 GPS were used. For these analyses ArcGIS and ERDAS
Imagine software was used. Land use information was obtained from the satellite images in this study.
In this phase the distinction of species in the forest was determined using supervised classification.
The lands that have priorities in case of fire were decided by combining the moisture of the land and
slope classes that were determined by conventional approaches with the satellite images. The results
of the analysis were shown by reports and graphs. The test region results should be applied all over
Rajaji National Park.
Keywords LISS, Forest Fire, Risk Zonation, DEM, Disaster

Wildfires are considered as a serious problem distressing many terrestrial ecosystems in the Earth
system and causing economic damage for people [1] such as missing income relative to the land use,
destruction and lost property, damages to agriculture, and loss of biodiversity [2, 3]. Also, it is one of
the most important parts of land degradation that is caused by deforestation and desertification [4].
Information on the distribution of forest fire risk zones is essential for the effective and sound decision
making process in the forest management [5]. Forest fire risk evaluation is a critical part of fire
prevention, since pre-fire planning resources require objective tools to monitor when and where a fire
is more prone to occur, or when will it have more negative effects [6]. Forest fire modeling involves the
risk assessment and evaluation. The term “risk” is used to describe the probability that a fire might
start, as affected by the nature and incidence of causative agents [7].
In India, about 2-3 % of the forest area is affected annually by fire and on an average over 34,000 ha
forest areas are burnt by fire every year [8]. Remote sensing and GIS is important tool for mapping
and management of forest fires. The first application of forest fire dates from 1960 when several aerial
infrared scanners were tested for fire spot detection [9]. In addition to forest fire mapping, remote
sensing has been effectively used in fire hazard rating system. In many fire hazard rating, critical
factors were vegetation, slope, aspect and elevation. Deeming et al., 1978 [10] have used LANDSAT
MSS image to obtain fuel oriented vegetation maps. Satellite remote sensing based forest fire
detection methods have been developed and demonstrated by Cuomo et al., 2001 [11] and Salvador
et al., 2000 [12].
In India, foresters have been debating the issue of forest fire control for a long time, but the paucity of
information owing to the lack of qualitative and quantitative studies on forest fire and its effect has not
resulted in any defined approach to controlling the forest fires.
Forest fire risk zones are locations where a fire is likely to start, and from where it can easily spread to
other areas. A precise evaluation of forest fire problems and decision on solutions can only be
satisfactory when a fire risk zone mapping is available [13]. Understanding the behaviour of forest fire,
the factors that contribute to making an environment fire prone, and the factors that influence fire
behavior are essential for forest fire [9]. The GIS-based model seems to be a reasonably good
approach for the conditions in India, where a major part of the forested land is being encroached upon
by the population [14, 15].
In the present study, an attempt is made to prepare a forest fire risk zone map by integrating a
satellite image, topographical and other ancillary data from a geographic information system(GIS) for
Kansrao Range which is the most forest fire sensitive area in Rajaji National Park. This study is also
an attempt to exploit the capabilities of remote sensing and GIS techniques and to suggest an
appropriate methodology for forest fire risk zone mapping. Such maps will help forest department

rainfall data.) projection system with Everest ellipsoid and India–Bangladesh datum was used using ERDAS Imagine software. it is necessary that the resource information is in the form of map. an area of interest boundary generated using the vector file helped in to get the subset image of Kansro forest range from satellite data. VDF (very dense forest). 500m and 600m from the center of the road. B. 2000m and 3000 m distance. Remote sensing. LISS III data was used for image analysis work. as per the fundamental criteria of FSI for forest cover mapping (FCM). These data were geo-coded with the help of rectified toposheets according to Geographic (lat. If this road is not motor able then Jabbarwala check post can be reached alternatively from Doiwala (3 kms from lachiwala railway bridge crossing on the highway Material and Methods 3. aspect. Plantation and Degraded forest. the park extends from 29 o 52` to 30o 15` north latitude to 78o 57` to 78o 23` east longitude in north India and covers an area about 820. slope. vegetation map. Study Area Kansrao forest range is located in Rajaji National Park. The topographical factors like.53 J/4 on scale 1:50. Unsupervised classification approach was used for forest density mapping using ERDAS. coupled with limited ground checks. Data The data used is Resourcesat P6 – LISS III of December 2009 (spatial resolution 23. The study area was classified into 50 spectral classes using unsupervised image classification approach. is the most ideal way for generating resource maps.2. Generation of Slope. hence the mapping of the thematic layers is one of the primary requirements. Teak. Generation of Thematic Layers For inputting spatial data in GIS. 3.5m). The flowchart for the methodology is shown in Figure 2. A. /long. Aspect and Elevation from DEM (Digital Elevation Model) . Boundary of Kansrao forest range was digitized from toposheet in vector form with the help of ERDAS 9. with the help of ERDAS. 400m. Supervised approach was used for forest type classification in which 20 training sets were taken from Google earth as ground control points. with elevation ranging from 360 m to 860 m. Based on the field visit the study area was classified into Moist Sal forest. The area has an uneven topography. elevation. altitude. along with grass and shrubs. Methods With the help of survey of India (SOI) website toposheet required for the study area has been identified. which was free from cloud cover. A total of 20 ground points were used to register the image with the rectification error of less than 1 pixel. ASTER data was used to generate Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for the study area. The data prepared for this study area were the following: forest type map. Complete road network was digitized from toposheet and buffer was created for distance of 200m. mainly Sal. as the settlement was outside the Kansrao forest range the settlement buffer were created for 1000m. Generation of Forest Type and Density Type Layers In this study density mapping employed the use of LISS III data. and other varieties of deciduous trees. slope and aspect layers were derived from DEM.officials prevent or minimize fire risk activities within the forest and take proper action when fire breaks out [16]. ASTER 30m and Garmin 72 GPS for defining and identifying the burned area and for estimating the vegetation loss. OF (open forest) NF (non forest).33 km 2. Kansrao can be reached from Cheering Crossing via Jabbarwala check post that lies 7 Kms further ahead. FCC was rectified with toposheet using first order nearest neighbor rules. The study area covers an area about 79. Topo Sheet (SOI) No.1 using vector tool. and temperature).The study area is situated between 78o 02` to 78o 18` east longitude to 30o 15` to 30o 05` north latitude. The area is located in the Garhwal Shivaliks behind Haridwar across the Rishikesh-Haridwar road in India. . The area is covered with thick green forest. Deciduous forest.42 km 2.1. 2. The FCC of LISS III December 2009 image was used in the study. Settlement areas were digitized in point vector form. MDF (moderately dense forest). The satellite images were corrected for the influence of atmosphere and topographic relief. Eventually the forest cover of study area was stratified into four major types on the basis of density viz.000 with contour interval 20 meters. standard topographic map and climate data (average wind.

vegetation type map (Figure 4). forest density (Figure 3). low. Elevation. The area under different fire risk zones is summarized in Table 7. Based on the statistics of different weight classes. despite the fact that no fire prone areas can be demarcated where fire occurs due to natural or intentional human causes. slope index. The other variables elevation and slope have comparatively less impacting estimation of fire risk zonation. It should prove to be helpful to the Forest Department. higher slopes contribute to convectional preheating and easy ignition and spreading of fire. Aspect and Slope were generated from ASTER 30m DEM with the help of ERDAS EMAGINE 9. Risk Zonation Index/Fire Risk Modeling . Fire Risk Zonation Map A further study of risk zonation map (Figure 12) with forest type map showed that deciduous and degraded forest types having high fuel content were falling on very high and high risk areas where as moist sal and plantation were falling on low and very low fire risk areas. aspect map (Figure 7). The second highest weights has been given to slope and aspect.A subset of the ASTER 30 m DEM of study area was clipped with the help of boundary vector layer. sun facing aspects receive direct sun rays and make the fuel drier and highly inflammable. In this study spatial modeling has been done to obtain the combined effect of fuel type index. as this type of fire risk zone map would enable the department to set up an appropriate fire-fighting infrastructure for the areas more prone to fire damage. because. road map (Figure 9) and settlement map (Figure 10) and were reclassified for assigning weightage Weights were given to each factor according to their influence on fire behavior by having experience and the opinion of the experts in the field (Tables 1 to 6). Hence. elevation index. it is advantageous to have a fire risk map to avert possible disasters caused by fire due to human activities. Spatial analysis using a function in model maker tool of ERDAS was carried out which revealed that on a 36% slope. This may be attributed to the fact that southern and western aspects receive high amount of sun insulation for the major part of the day and accordingly are warmer than other aspects. road index and settlement index. Very high and high fire risk areas were mostly lying in southern and western aspect having warmer and dry conditions. Fire could thus certainly be averted by taking precautionary measures.1 using topographic analysis tool. moderate. The following equation was used in the map calculation: Where FRZI = Fire Risk Zonation Index FUI = Fuel Type Index SLI = Slope Index ASI = Aspect Index RDI = Road Index STI = Settlement Index ELI = Elevation Index As different weights were tried for different variables and the weights given in the equations were used to generate fire risk zonation map. slope map (Figure 6). The fire risk index values in this map (FRZI) were ranging from 14 to 135. Generating Index Value Maps In the present study the map layers generated above viz. Highest weight of nine have been given to the fuel type index. fuel contributes to the maximum extent due to inflammability factor. whereas northern and eastern slopes were falling on low and very low fire risk areas. Different weights have been assigned as per the importance of the particular variables in relation to the area under study. the map was reclassified into five classes as very low. the dry biomass is more close to fire flames causing the fire to spread more speedily. accessibility and forest types had played an important role in fire risk zonation modeling. aspect index. because. high and very high to generate fire risk area map Results and Discussion Settlement. elevation map (Figure 8). Besides on steep slopes. fuel type map (Figure 5). the rate of fire spread is twice as compared to fire on a slope of 18%. Such a map would .

The results of the study showed that out of 27 fire incidences 20 incidences had occurred in very high and high risk areas. as this type of fire risk zone map would enable the department to set up an appropriate fire-fighting infrastructure for the areas more prone to fire in planning the main roads. Such a map would help in planning the main roads. The precision in the modeling could be increased by adding more number of variables in the analysis. density maps and other parameters can be helpful in installation of suitable watch towers for prevention of fire. and where fire could thus certainly be averted by taking precautionary measures. etc. Layers generation for slope altitude and forest density can be used for calculating response time for the disaster. despite the fact that no fire prone areas can be demarcated where fire occurs due to natural or intentional human causes. It should prove to be helpful to the Forest Department. and may lead to a reliable communication and transport system to efficiently fight small and large forest fires Validation of Forest Fire Risk Model The final forest fire risk model was validated with past fire incidences data that was collected from field visits and fire points were taken from Forest Survey of India website. subsidiary roads. Fire risk index map can be used to prioritize for taking forest fire prevention initiatives at management level. inspection paths. and may lead to a reliable communication and transport system to efficiently fight small and large forest fires. Hence. . subsidiary roads. inspection paths. the selection of variables should be based on knowledge base of the area. Forest type. high and moderate ‘fire risk’ zones are those areas where fire can be unintentionally caused by human activities. etc. Conclusion Fire risk modeling using multi criteria analysis and integrating different layers resulted in developing fire risk assessment of study area. However. it is advantageous to have a fire risk map to avert possible disasters caused by fire due to human activities. The areas shown under very high. Digital elevation model can be effectively used for studying terrain characteristics and for generating a view shed.