Connecting dryland fine-fuel assessments to wildfire exposure and natural resource values at risk
To inform wildland fire management under these conditions, we developed high-resolution (10-m) estimates of fine fuel across the Altar Valley in southern Arizona, USA, which spans dryland, grass-dominated ecosystems that are administered by multiple land managers and owners. We coupled field measurements at the end of the 2021 growing season with Sentinel-2 satellite imagery and vegetation indices acquired during and after the growing season to develop predictions of fine fuel across the entire valley. We then assessed how climate, soil, vegetation, and land-use factors influenced the amount and distribution of fine fuels. We connected fine fuels to fire management points, past ignition history, and socio-economic vulnerability to evaluate wildfire exposure and assessed how fuel related to habitat of the endangered masked bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus ridgwayi).