Assessment of the Landscape Fires Spread in the
Chornobyl Exclusion Zone in March 2022 Based on
the Rothermel Model and Sentinel-2 Satellite Imagery

Yu. I. Kuzmenko, L. V. Havlovska

Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants,
NAS of Ukraine, 12, Lysohirska st., Kyiv, 03028, Ukraine



The threat of occurrence and spread of landscape fires in Ukraine increases in the conditions of hostilities, therefore the possibility of terrestrial monitoring and suppression of wildfires is getting worser. The Chornobyl Exclusion Zone (ChEZ) has a special status due to the presence of radioactively contaminated areas that can become a source of dangerous emissions into the atmosphere from fires. Therefore, the implementation of satellite monitoring for active fires and the development of methods for predicting the behavior of fires and their consequences in the ChEZ by the computer modeling using GIS systems is relevant. The aim of this work was to estimate the size of burned areas (BA) due to the spread of fires in March 2022 during the period of its occupation by Russian troops using NRT data on active fires, obtained from the VIIRS and MODIS satellites from the NASA FIRMS as input. Calculations were made in two ways: a) fire propagation was simulated based on the well-known Rothermel model, implemented in the GRASS GIS open source software environment; b) actual BAs were defined using Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) and Burned Area Index for Sentinel-2 (BAIS2) spectral indices, based on the involvement of Sentinel-2 bands. A comparison of the simulated areas and perimeters of scarses with the actual Bas, detected from Sentinel-2 satellite images, showed that the relative errors in BAs detection for individual groups of fires do not exceed 15%, which makes it possible to apply this approach for operative or scenario forecasting of the wildfire spread without significant loss in accuracy

Keywords: Sentinel-2, normalized burn ratio, burned area, wildfire, spectral indices, GIS, Rothermel model, Chornobyl Exclusion Zone, fire monitoring, BAIS2.

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