Journal of Remote Sensing & GIS, Vol 2, No 2 (2011)

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Spatio-temporal Distribution of Wildfire Occurrences on the Lake Floor of Lake Chad Based on Remotely Sensed Data

Anthony Dami, H. K. Ayuba, Mohammed .D. Bila


This paper analyzes the spatio-temporal distribution of wildfire occurrences on the lake floor of the Lake Chad using satellite remote sensing data. A combination of field survey and computation of fire pixel counts from MODIS images for the period 2001–2009 form the basis for this analysis. The result revealed that the highest number of fires occurred in 2001, with varying figures in subsequent years. The highest number of fires in 2001 may be connected to the extent of flooding and the subsequent invasion by vegetal biomass on the Lake floor after the recession of floods. Fire density was highest in the northern basin of the Lake Chad, with a total burnt area of 19,274 km2 compared to the southern basin. The disparity in the spatial distribution of wildfires between the two basins may be connected with the proliferation of invasive species, especially Prosopis juliflora in the northern basin. These invasive species are important for the local communities living on the lake floor as they are subjected to frequent burning in order to get fuel wood for household use.

Keywords: Spatio-temporal distribution, wildfire, MODIS, Lake floor, Lake Chad, remotely sensed data

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