volume: 43, issue:
Forest fire is one of the most common natural hazards occurring in the Western Ghats region of Kerala and is one of the reasons for forest degradation. This natural disaster causes considerable damage to the biodiversity of this region during the dry fire season. The area selected for the present study, Eravikulam National Park, which is predominantly of grassland vegetation, is also prone to forest fires. This study aims to delineate the forest fire risk zones in Eravikulam National Park using remote sensing (RS) data and geographic information system (GIS) techniques. In the present study, methods such as Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and Frequency Ratio (FR) were used to derive the weights, and the results were compared. We have used seven factors, i.e. land cover types, normalized difference vegetation index, normalized difference water index, slope angle, slope aspect, distance from the settlement, and distance from the road to prepare the fire risk zone map. The area of the prepared risk zone maps is divided into three zones, namely low, moderate, and high. From the study, it was found that the fire occurring in this area is due to natural as well as anthropogenic factors. The prepared forest fire risk zone maps are validated using the fire incidence data for the period from January 2003 to June 2019 collected from the records of the Forest Survey of India. The investigation revealed that 72% and 24% of the fire incidences occurred in the high risk zone of the maps prepared using the AHP and FR methods, respectively, which ascertained the superiority of the AHP method over the FR method for forest fire risk zone mapping. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis gives an area under the ROC curve (AUC) value of 0.767 and 0.567 for the AHP and FR methods, respectively. The risk zone maps will be useful for staff of the forest department, planners, and officials of the disaster management department to take effective preventive and mitigation measures.