Describing the Brushfire Hazard in Southern California

Stephen R. Yool, David W. Eckhardt, John E. Estes, Michael J. Cosentino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Brushfires threaten lives, property, and natural resources in Southern California. A geographic information system (GIS) can be a powerful tool for managing the brushfire problem. As a demonstration, digital data and computer-based GIS technology were used to describe the brushfire hazards at two test sites in Southern California. For a test site near Los Angeles, California, digital landscape data describing fire history, rainfall, and topography were registered to a brush fuel type and density map produced from remote sensor data from Landsat. For a test site near Santa Barbara, California, the relationship between dry fuel weight and incoming solar radiation (insolation) was modeled using simulated insolation values derived from digital topographic data. Regression results from a small sample of fuels suggest that about 37 percent of the variation in dry fuel weights can be explained by variations in insolation and that further study using additional landscape data is warranted. Data processing and modeling techniques similar to those used in this work can enlarge our capacity to study spatially distributed data and hence to understand the biosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-430
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • environmental modeling
  • geographic information systems
  • remote sensing
  • vegetation analysis
  • wildfire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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