Comprehensive Airborne Remote Sensing System Transforms Wildfire Research

Scientists from Colorado State University (CSU) are partnering with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) to lead a large-scale wildfire impact study on 2012's High Park Fire - one of the most devastating in Colorado's history. The study will provide crucial data to the communities still dealing with major issues related to water quality, erosion, and ecosystem restoration. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the collaboration will integrate airborne remote sensing data collected by NEON's Airborne Observation Platform (AOP) with ground-based data from a targeted field campaign conducted by CSU researchers. This marks the first time a comprehensive airborne remote sensing system of this caliber will be used to enhance research on wildfire causes and impacts. The system will be able to detect remaining vegetation, identify plant species, ash cover, soil properties, and other details to help illustrate how the fire burned over the whole fire scar.