Trends and patterns in Luangwa River Valley fires 2003-2007


Y. Her; C.D. Heatwole; D. Lewis; A. Travis

Type of Document:
Conference Proceeding or Document


American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE)

Date of Publication:

Place of Publication:
St. Joseph, MI


Abstract: Efforts at improving resource management, sustainability, and wildlife habitat in the Luangwa River Valley of Zambia includes community education to change the common practices of setting fires throughout the long dry season. Fires are set for many reasons — to clear fields of last year’s crop residue, to clear new land, to remove undergrowth for safety along roads and paths,

accidentally, and sometimes apparently with little reason.

The MODIS satellite data has been used to derive likely fire locations as a means of mapping fires

from space. The algorithms use a combination of heat signature and smoke plumes to define the likelihood of a fire. Fire data from 2003-2007 for a regional area surrounding and including the Luangwa Valley were analyzed looking for spatial and temporal patterns in fire occurrence. A 5km cell was used as a basic spatial element for aggregating and analyzing fire occurrence.

Variation from year to year can be seen regionally that may reflect differences in rainfall and climate between years. Ratios between years were used as a basis for examining different rates of change spatially. Fire occurrence in community areas with a conservation program and those without were compared. The ratio analysis of the fire data were not able to detect a difference between regions with community education to control the practice of setting fires due to limited change in the practice or limitation of the resolution and classification accuracy of the data.

Additional Bibliographic Information

Paper no. 085216 presented at the 2008 ASABE Annual International Meeting, Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, RI, 29 June-2 July 2008

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