Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildfires are becoming more frequent each year not only in the United States, but throughout the world. Barber County, Kansas experienced a devastating wildfire in March 2016, and continues to be at risk of wildfires during the fire season months. This study involved creating a functional GIS Database with layers corresponding to communication, transportation, and infrastructure throughout the county. This will allow responders and officials to have one unified reference space, which will facilitate communication and navigation. Within the ArcGIS environment, route maps can be created to show potential routes and quickest drive time to the scene of the emergency. Another aspect of this project was to identify areas with the potential for large fire outbreaks. In order to monitor fire hazardous areas, Landsat imagery was utilized to identify potential outbreak areas using the Normalized Differential Vegetation Index. Using this imagery allows officials to track areas that are at risk of overgrowth and fuel build up. Imagery taken from an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) was used to provide a different perspective of the fire front. Having the vantage point being taken above the fire allows for responders to see exactly where the fire is currently active. The UAS also provided a more time efficient way of observing grassland conditions of the study area, Township 34 South, Range 13 West. While the focus of this project is in Barber County, Kansas, the techniques utilized can be transferred and set up for other counties across the United States.


Thomas Schafer

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type



© The Author(s)


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