Home Archived April 13, 2016

Composite Burn Index (CBI) Plot Data


The CBI data sets includes 2623 plots and 6139 photos from field studies of post-fire effects conducted from 1996 – 2006. The field studies were undertaken by the National Park Service and US Geological Survey as part of a Joint Fire Sciences Program (JFSP) project that evaluated sensitivities of burn severity mapping algorithms for different ecosystems in the United States.

Downloads are available under Regional Datasets for CBI plot data, plot photos and photo metadata, covering 83 burns, 2623 plots and 6139 photos. Each region, below, has one CBI data file and one photo metadata file covering all fires sampled per region. Plot photo archives are separate for each fire per region. The photo metadata file associates the plot ID and location with the image files for a given plot. Note, some of the plots lack photos for various reasons.

We are planning to expand this site to share CBI field data that was not part of the JFSP validation study. If you are interested in sharing your data or if you have created a new dataset using this site CBI data and are interested in sharing it, email Nate Benson: nate_benson@nps.gov.



  • Web Site: Key, Carl, Nate Benson, and Suzanna Soileau. "CBI Plot Data and Photos." USGS-NOROCK and NPS. Web. 16 January 2013.
  • Methodology: Key, C.H. and N.C. Benson. 2006. Landscape Assessment: Ground measure of severity, the Composite Burn Index; and Remote sensing of severity, the Normalized Burn Ratio. In: D.C. Lutes; R.E. Keane; J.F. Caratti; C.H. Key; N.C. Benson; S. Sutherland; and L.J. Gangi. 2006. FIREMON: Fire Effects Monitoring and Inventory System. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-164-CD: LA 1-51.
  • Zhu, Z.; C. Key; D. Ohlen; N. Benson. 2006. Evaluate Sensitivities of Burn-Severity Mapping Algorithms for Different Ecosystems and Fire Histories in the United States. Final Report to the Joint Fire Science Program, Project JFSP 01-1-4-12, October 12, 2006. 35pp.

Regional Datasets



Central U.S.

Eastern U.S.

Northern Rockies

Southwest U.S.


Abbreviations: N.P. = National Park; N.F. = National Forest; N.R.A. = National Recreation Area; N.M. = National Monument

Updated 7 March 2013