The Normalized Burn Ratio, or Burn Index, is now available in Lens, free of charge, for Sentinel-2 and for Landsat 8. Normalized Burn Ratio is an index calculated using near-infrared (NIR) and shortwave infrared (SWIR) values derived from NASA/USGS Landsat 8 and ESA Sentinel-2. In Lens, burned areas display high SWIR and low NIR reflectance, which is the opposite of healthy vegetation.
Normalized burn ratio can provide insight into the timing and severity in burned areas.
Importantly, because index values may vary based on the landscape, pre-fire vegetation, or presence of smoke or clouds, it is useful to view this dataset alongside truecolor, vegetation, and other datasets. If you're looking at a desert landscape in the hot summer, it will show higher burn index values than a forested area, even without any fire event. Climate and phenological cycles are important to keep in mind when viewing this dataset; it’s intended to support assessment in areas where known fires have occurred.
The Burn Index is also useful in cases of monitoring for efforts such as restoration and monitoring prescribed fires. "'Prescribed fire" is a planned fire; it is also sometimes called a “controlled burn” or “prescribed burn,” and is used to meet management objectives. A prescription is a set of conditions that considers the safety of the public and fire staff, weather, and probability of meeting the burn objectives'. Fire monitoring and remote sensing can be as important as the monitoring of vegetation in sites where prescribed fires are not only performed but a necessary part of the ecosystem.
To get started using this dataset, sign up for a demo, check out our plans, or simply login.