Abstract. Urban sprawl has become a huge concern for cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago in recent years. As urban sprawl pushes urbanization into city suburbs and outskirts, forest fragmentation becomes evidently prevalent and exposes forests to high temperatures, pollution, pests, and fires that threaten forest health. A 2021 report titled Rebuilding for a Resilient Recovery affirmed that the frequency and damage potential of wildfires have been exacerbated by climate change and urban sprawl especially in California. Globally, these fires can be attributed to both natural and anthropogenic drivers such as deforestation, agriculture, mining, and industrialization. Future projections predict that these incidences of fires will only worsen as the planet continues to warm further, with emphasis on the spread and intensities of the annual California wildfires over the decade. Quantifying the consequences of these fires on global climate change has become crucial and with the emergence of advanced GIS mapping tools, focus, visualization, and interpretation of fire and burn severity has become easier. However, knowledge and understanding of wildfire dynamics is limited especially in terms of fuel load, impacts on vegetation health, aerosol release and associated movement in the atmosphere. It is therefore important to address these gaps to make better and informed actions towards forest use, protection, management, and policies and broadly towards ambitious climate goals such as the UN’s Carbon Neutral goal by 2050. This study uses Sentinel 2A data from the Copernicus fleet between 2018 and 2022 to identify and assess the burn severity of affected areas in Sonoma County, California. The aim of the study is to understand the impacts of fires of fire on vegetation health and the post-fire recovery process. The Normalized Burn Ration Index (NBRI) was used to identify and measure the extent of the burnt areas within the county and their severity and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) was used as a measure of forest heath. The results show that Sonoma County has become a high burn severity area with a major decrease in unburned areas between 2018 and 2022. NDVI values recorded all decrease from January to December for all the years because of pre-fire season drought. The wildfire season begins in May and before then there are seasonal droughts that occur hence accounting for the initial decline in NDVI. The least values recorded were between 0.5 and 0.57 for September, indicating sparse and unhealthy vegetation because of sharp declines during the fire season.

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