National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Vegetative Greenness

Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS) AVARR NDVI Greenness Reference is the comprehensive source of images, data archives, and methods for handling.

These images, derived from a satellite sensor, have been produced weekly since 1989, producing a historical record of vegetation phenology that can be used to characterize current vegetation greenness. They can be used to cross-reference with drought assessments and other characterizations of plant development, moisture stress, and curing. Cloud cover can have a significant impact on image quality in portions of the image.

While not an estimate of live fuel moisture, spatial distribution of NDVI estimates and its climatological derivatives can provide important insight to past and current vegetative state and overall landscape flammability during the growing season.

There are several depictions that allow you to evaluate the current NDVI status:

  • Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (ND) is the current derived value from which all the other climatological depictions are derived.
  • Departure from Average Greenness (DA) portrays the absolute difference between current value and the historic average greenness for the corresponding week of the year based on all years 1989-last year.
  • Relative Greenness (RG) portrays how green the vegetation is compared to how green it has been over the historical reference period (1989-last year). Because each pixel is normalized to its own historical range, all areas (dry to wet) can appear fully green at some time during the growing season.
  • Visual Greenness (VG) portrays vegetation greenness compared to a very green reference such as an alfalfa field or a golf course. The resulting image is like what you would expect to see from the air. Normally dry areas will never show as green as normally wetter areas.

This image of Departure from Average Greenness is for September 12, 2011

 Departure from Average Vegetative Greenness. Example graphic from the Wildland Fire Assessment System for September 12th of 2011.


PRINT FBFRG Vegetative Greenness


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