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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

High-Resolution Semantic Segmentation of Woodland Fires Using Residual Attention UNet and Time Series of Sentinel-2

Shirvani, Zeinab; Abdi, Omid; Goodman, Rosa C.


Southern Africa experiences a great number of wildfires, but the dependence on low-resolution products to detect and quantify fires means both that there is a time lag and that many small fire events are never identified. This is particularly relevant in miombo woodlands, where fires are frequent and predominantly small. We developed a cutting-edge deep-learning-based approach that uses freely available Sentinel-2 data for near-real-time, high-resolution fire detection in Mozambique. The importance of Sentinel-2 main bands and their derivatives was evaluated using TreeNet, and the top five variables were selected to create three training datasets. We designed a UNet architecture, including contraction and expansion paths and a bridge between them with several layers and functions. We then added attention gate units (AUNet) and residual blocks and attention gate units (RAUNet) to the UNet architecture. We trained the three models with the three datasets. The efficiency of all three models was high (intersection over union (IoU) > 0.85) and increased with more variables. This is the first time an RAUNet architecture has been used to detect fire events, and it performed better than the UNet and AUNet models-especially for detecting small fires. The RAUNet model with five variables had IoU = 0.9238 and overall accuracy = 0.985. We suggest that others test the RAUNet model with large datasets from different regions and other satellites so that it may be applied more broadly to improve the detection of wildfires.


UNet; AUNet; RAUNet; top variables; fire detection; Sentinel-2; small fires; miombo ecoregion

Published in

Remote Sensing
2023, Volume: 15, number: 5, article number: 1342
Publisher: MDPI