June 2023

Scotland has experienced hot weather and cloudless skies for some weeks during May and June 2023. The uncharacteristic weather has led to dry conditions which, although welcomed by some, brings danger in the form of wildfire risk. Cannich, a small town west of Loch Ness, has recently recorded the largest wildfire in Scotland's history with 24 square miles affected.

Remote sensing helps landowners take preventive measures against wildfires as well as aiding the analysis of their impact. Observing Sentinel-2 satellite imagery from the 1st to the 22nd of May for Cannich, heathland and forestry can be seen in the image on the left, and this is aided on the right by an NDVI image which highlights vegetation vigour.

The images below from the 30th of May 2023 clearly show the impact of the fire. The NDVI image, on the right, gives insight into the impact on the vegetation. 

The images below illustrate on the left the result of detecting burnt ground (darker red shows the burned area, pink indicates no burn) and on the right the severity of the burn, showing that there was a triangular pocket of trees (triangle of blue at the north of the burned area) which survived the fire with other areas to the south being burned severely (red).

D-CAT’s FireSentry service was initially developed and proven in Australia, but it can be applied to any region in the world to enable better management of wildfires, for both preventative measures and post-fire analysis. 

With the global climate becoming a greater issue and, consequently, worse weather conditions becoming more common, this service is increasingly in demand with its insight into the risk of wildfire in vegetated regions. 

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