Spatial mapping and analysis of forest fire risk areas in Sri Lanka – Understanding environmental significance

Makumbura, Randika K., Dissanayake, Prasad, Gunathilake, Miyuru B., Rathnayake, Namal, Kantamaneni, Komali orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3852-4374 and Rathnayake, Upaka (2024) Spatial mapping and analysis of forest fire risk areas in Sri Lanka – Understanding environmental significance. Case Studies in Chemical and Environmental Engineering, 9 . p. 100680. ISSN 2666-0164

[thumbnail of VOR]
PDF (VOR) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


Official URL:


This study presents the first attempt in Sri Lanka to generate a forest fire risk map covering the entire country using a GIS-based forest fire index (FFI) model. The model utilized seven parameters: land use, temperature, slope, proximity to roads and settlements, elevation, and aspect. All these parameters were derived using GIS techniques with ArcGIS10.4 and QGIS3.16. Data from Remote Sensing sources, particularly the MODIS hotspot real-world dataset, were employed to gather fire count information for the year 2020. Validation was conducted through the merging hotspot technique and kernel density estimation (KDE). The research findings highlight the districts in the Central and Uva provinces, such as NuwaraEliya (10.3 km2), Kandy (2.74 km2), and Badulla (10.41 km2), as having a “very low risk" of forest fire potential. Conversely, districts like Hambanthota (0.1 km2), Kaluthara (0.04 km2), and Kurunegala (0.2 km2) exhibit a “very high risk" of forest fire potential, although it is negligible compared country's total area. Overall, the study suggests that Sri Lanka is not currently facing a significant threat of forest fires and is a “medium risk" of forest fires as 49.49% of land falls under this category. These results are of immense value to relevant authorities, including the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation, in formulating effective strategies to manage and mitigate forest fire risks in the country.

Repository Staff Only: item control page