ANALYZING WILDFIRES IN PORTUGAL: RADIANT SPOTLIGHT VOL. 4

By: Radiant Solutions

Posted on Aug 06, 2018

In 2017, wildfires in Portugal burned approximately 1.3 million acres of land—an area 52 times the size of Lisbon, the nation's capital. The 2017 infernos caused roughly $2 billion in total damages and 115 deaths, the highest total ever recorded in Portugal. Wildfires are a growing issue for Portugal, having risen to nearly 60 percent of the total land burned in the European Union, an increase attributed in part to fast-spreading and highly flammable eucalyptus.

To continue reading the in-depth profile on the wildfires in Portugal and learn how Radiant Solutions is using remote sensing and geospatial modeling to understand wildfire risk and potential behavior to improve emergency response, please subscribe to our exclusive monthly periodical, the Radiant Spotlight here.


Sneak Peek

Burn Scar Mapping

Radiant Solutions is able to provide large-scale, highly accurate and unmatched burn scar mapping by modeling remotely sensed data from DigitalGlobe’s earth imaging satellites. Mapping burn scars is critical for analyzing risk factors and potential behavior of specific wildfires.

Eucalyptus

The magnitude of every wildfire is largely determined by the interplay of fuel, weather and topography. This section highlights the role played by eucalyptus in the June 2017 fires near Pedrógão Grande.

Non-native eucalyptus trees cover a quarter of all forested land in Portugal and have become a profitable cash crop for paper and pulp. However, eucalyptus trees can exacerbate wildfires, particularly those on abandoned land. A fifth of Portugal’s territory is without any identified ownership. In an effort to identify the prevalence of eucalyptus across the study area and evaluate its potential significance in the June 2017 fires, Radiant Solutions proprietary land use-land cover machine learning algorithm and classification tool was trained to differentiate eucalyptus from other vegetation, shown below.