The 2016-2017 bushfire season in New South Wales started early. In early November (the last month of spring in Australia), three large bushfires broke out near populated areas and drew much attention:
- The fire near Cranebrook and Llandilo, Western Sydney
- The fire near Cessnock, Hunter Valley
- The fire near Karuah, ~35 km north of Newcastle
The latest Sentinel-2 satellite imagery acquired soon after the fires is used to map fire scars or burnt areas. Details of the imagery are as follows:
- Imagery Source: Public Sentinel-2 Imagery on Amazon Web Services S3, download link1, link2
- Imagery Provider: EU Earth Observation Programme – Copernicus
- Imagery Acquisition Date: 2016-11-16
- Swath Width: 290 km
- Multispectral Bands: 13 bands
- Spatial Resolutions: 10 m, 20 m, 60 m
- Disclaimer: This analysis and mapping contains Copernicus Sentinel-2 data (2016), and users should be aware of the legal notice on the use of Copernicus Sentinel Data and Service Information.
BigData Earth has processed the short-wave infrared (SWIR) bands of the Sentinel-2 imagery, which can reveal fire scars very effectively. Outputs at 10 m resolution and in Google Earth KMZ format can be downloaded below:
While only small damage on properties has been caused much thanks to the effort of the NSW Rural Fire Service, the fact that many fires occurred so early in spring (2016 most probably to become the hottest year on record) serves as an alarming sign for what lies ahead. For interested users, the December climate warming trends report for each Local Government Area in Australia can be downloaded at this website.
Figure 1: Burnt areas from the early November 2016 fires near Cranebrook and Llandilo. Imagery: Sentinel-2 SWIR imagery composite at 10 m resolution.
Figure 2: Burnt areas from the early November 2016 fires near Cessnock. Imagery: Sentinel-2 SWIR imagery composite at 10 m resolution.
Figure 3: Burnt areas from the early November 2016 fires near Karuah. Imagery: Sentinel-2 SWIR imagery composite at 10 m resolution.