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MCEER Response:
Collection and Preliminary Analysis of Aerial and In‑Field Building Damage Information in the Aftermath of the 2007 California Wildfires

By Anneley McMillan, Beverley J. Adams, Shubaroop Ghosh and Charles K. Huyck

This field campaign, undertaken in the aftermath of the 2007 California Wildfires, was funded by the National Science Foundation through their SGER program and the MCEER Remote Sensing Institute. This is the first time VIEWS™ has been utilized for wildfire data collection. A unique dataset of perishable building and environmental damage data, through both aerial and on-ground vehicle-based deployments, was collected. The aerial VIEWS™ footage was used to map the occurrence of burned structures within the Witch, Grass Valley and Slide fire zones. Preliminary analysis was undertaken using the aerial data to explore neighborhood scale relationships between burn, hazard and vulnerability factors. Preliminary statistical analysis of destroyed building data shows general relationships between burn occurrence and the slope, aspect and elevation of parcels, although these were seen to change with the type of environment the fire is in. Research activities using the ground-based footage will be documented in a future publication. 

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Aerial view of damaged neighborhood

Figure 3. Example of aerial imagery, showing a partially destroyed neighborhood in San Diego.

Aerial view of damaged neighborhood

Figure 8. Good vegetation clearance practices helped to avoid house destruction.

Aerial view of damaged neighborhood

Figure 9. Witch Fire, showing locations of burned buildings, overlaid on LRA Fire Hazard Severity Zones.

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