Florsheim, J. L.; Chin, A.; Kinoshita, A. M.; Nourbakhshbeidokhti, S.; Storesund, R.; Keller, E. A.
In steep chaparral ecosystems with Mediterranean climate, dry ravel is a natural process resulting from wildfire disturbance that supplies sediment to fluvial systems. When dense chaparral vegetation burns, sediment accumulated on steep hillslopes is released for dry-season transport (dry ravel) down steep hillslopes during or soon after the wildfire. Results of a field study in southern California's Transverse Ranges illustrate the effect of wildfire on fluvial sediment regime in an unregulated chaparral system. Big Sycamore Canyon in the steep Santa Monica Mountains burned during the May 2013 Springs Fire and experienced one small sediment-transporting stormflow during the following winter. We conducted pre- and post-storm field campaigns during the fall and winter following the fire to quantify the effect of wildfire on the fluvial sediment regime. We utilized a sediment mass balance approach in which: 1) sediment supply, consisting primarily of dry ravel-derived deposits composed of relatively fine grained-sediment, was measured in the upstream basin and in the hillslope-channel margin adjacent to the study reach; 2) changes in storage in the study reach were quantified by analyzing the difference between pre- and post-storm channel topography derived from Terrestrial LiDAR Scanning (TLS) and field surveys; and 3) transport from the study reach was estimated as the difference between supply and change in storage where uncertainty is estimated using calculated sediment transport as a comparison. Results demonstrate channel deposition caused by changes in the short-term post-wildfire sediment regime. The increased sediment supply and storage are associated with significant changes in morphology, channel bed-material characteristics, and ecology. These results suggest that dry-ravel processes are an important factor to consider in post-wildfire sediment management.
Ryan B. Walker; Jonathan D. Coop; Sean A. Parks; Laura Trader
Extensive high-severity wildfires have driven major losses of ponderosa pine and mixed-conifer forests in the southwestern United States, in some settings catalyzing enduring conversions to nonforested vegetation types. Management interventions to reduce the probability of stand-replacing wildfire have included mechanical fuel treatments, prescribed fire, and wildfire...
Pereira, M. G.; Trigo, R. M.; Dacamara, C. C.
An objective classification scheme, as developed by Trigo and DaCamara (2000), was applied to classify the daily atmospheric circulation affecting Portugal between 1980 and 2007 into a set of 10 basic weather types (WTs). The classification scheme relies on a set of atmospheric circulation indices, namely southerly flow (SF), westerly flow (WF), total flow (F), southerly shear vorticity (ZS), westerly shear vorticity (ZW) and total vorticity (Z). The weather-typing approach, together with surfacemeteorological variables (e.g. intensity and direction of geostrophic wind, maximum and minimum temperature and precipitation) were then associated to wildfire events as recorded in the official Portuguese fire database consisting of information on each fire occurred in the 18 districts of Continental Portugal within the same period (>450.000 events). The objective of this study is to explore the dependence of wildfire activity on weather and climate and then evaluate the potential of WTs to discriminate among recorded wildfires on what respects to their occurrence and development. Results show that days characterised by surface flow with an eastern component (i.e. NE, E and SE) account for a high percentage of daily burnt area, as opposed to surface westerly flow (NW, W and SW), which represents about a quarter of the total number of days but only accounts for a very low percentage of active fires and of burnt area. Meteorological variables such as minimum and maximum temperatures, that are closely associated to surface wind intensity and direction, also present a good ability to discriminate between the different types of fire events.. Trigo R.M., DaCamara C. (2000) "Circulation Weather Types and their impact on the precipitation regime in Portugal". Int J of Climatology, 20, 1559-1581.
Bart, R. R.; Kennedy, M. C.; Tague, C.; Hanan, E. J.
Higher temperatures and larger fuel loads in the western U.S. have increased the size and intensity of wildfires over the past decades. However, it is unclear if this trend will continue over the long-term since increased wildfire activity has the countering effect of reducing landscape fuel loads, while higher temperatures alter the rate of vegetation recovery following fire. In this study, we introduce a coupled ecohydrologic-fire model for investigating how changes in vegetation, forest management, climate, and hydrology may affect future fire regimes. The spatially-distributed ecohydrologic model, RHESSys, simulates hydrologic, carbon and nutrient fluxes at watershed scales; the fire-spread model, WMFire, stochastically propagates fire on a landscape based on conditions in the ecohydrologic model. We use the coupled model to replicate fire return intervals in multiple ecoregions within the western U.S., including the southern Sierra Nevada and southern California. We also examine the sensitivity of fire return intervals to various model processes, including litter production, fire severity, and post-fire vegetation recovery rates. Results indicate that the coupled model is able to replicate expected fire return intervals in the selected locations. Fire return intervals were highly sensitive to the rate of vegetation growth, with longer fire return intervals associated with slower growing vegetation. Application of the model is expected to aid in our understanding of how fuel treatments, climate change and droughts may affect future fire regimes.
David T. Butry; Jeffrey P. Prestemon; Karen L. Abt; Ronda Sutphen
We describe how two important tools of wildfire management, wildfire prevention education and prescribed fire for fuels management, can be coordinated to minimise the combination of management costs and expected societal losses resulting from wildland fire. We present a long-run model that accounts for the dynamics of wildfire, the effects of fuels management on...
We simulated public health forecast-based interventions during a wildfire smoke episode in rural North Carolina to show the potential for use of modeled smoke forecasts toward reducing the health burden and showed a significant economic benefit of reducing exposures. Daily and co...
Donald McKenzie; Uma Shankar; Robert E. Keane; E. Natasha Stavros; Warren E. Heilman; Douglas G. Fox; Allen C. Riebau
Smoke from wildfires has adverse biological and social consequences, and various lines of evidence suggest that smoke from wildfires in the future may be more intense and widespread, demanding that methods be developed to address its effects on people, ecosystems, and the atmosphere. In this paper, we present the essential ingredients of a modeling system for...
Wildfire regimes are a leading driver of global environmental change affecting a diverse array of global ecosystems. Particulates and aerosols produced by wildfires are a primary source of air pollution making the early detection and monitoring of wildfires crucial. The objectives of this study were to model regional wildfire potential and identify environmental, topological, and sociological factors that contribute to the ignition of wildfire events in the Western Hindu Kush-Himalayas of South Asia. The environmental, topological, and sociological factors were used to model regional wildfire potential through multi-criteria evaluation using a method of weighted linear combination. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and geographic information systems (GIS) data were integrated to analyze regional wildfires and construct the model. Model validation was performed using a holdout cross validation method. The study produced a significant model of wildfire potential in the Western Hindu Kush-Himalayas.; Western Hindu Kush-Himalayas ; Western Hindu Kush-Himalayas Wildfire Potential
Quresh Latif; Jamie Sanderlin; Vicki Saab; William Block; Jonathan Dudley
Wildfire is a key factor influencing bird community composition in western North American forests. We need to understand species and community responses to wildfire and how responses vary regionally to effectively manage dry conifer forests for maintaining biodiversity. We compared avian relationships with wildfire burn severity between two dry forest...
Lawson, Ian; Venevsky, Sergey; Sitch, Stephen; Tzedakis, Pc; Roucoux, Kh; Frogley, Mr
Wildfire is an important element of the Earth system, responsible to a large extent for determining vegetation structure, contributing to global carbon cycling, and destructive of human life and property. Understanding wildfire behaviour can help us to predict how fire regimes are likely to change in future and to devise appropriate management strategies. One challenge in studying wildfire is to unpick the relative importance of human activity as a factor; in many densely-populated areas of the world, such as the Mediterranean, the majority of vegetation fires are thought to be started accidentally or deliberately by people. This makes it difficult to establish whether the fire frequency and/or intensity experienced today are unusual, in historical terms; whether ecosystems are in equilibrium with modern fire regimes, or are in the process of adjusting to them; and it makes it difficult to determine what an "appropriate" level of burning should be, given that complete elimination of fire is likely in the long run to be detrimental to plant communities that have evolved in environments where burning occurred naturally. Here we present new data from a lake sediment sequence from Lake Ioannina in NW Greece. The sequence contains varying amounts of charcoal, which can be interpreted as a proxy for the intensity and/or frequency of burning in the lake's catchment. Sub-fossil pollen allow us to reconstruct past vegetation communities, and stable isotope data provide some indication of local variations in past climate, supplemented by regional syntheses of other palaeoclimatic data and results of climate modelling experiments. The sediment sequence spans several interglacial-glacial cycles. Here we compare the charcoal, pollen and stable isotope records of the present interglacial, the Holocene, with the last interglacial, the Eemian. Although there are some known climatic differences between the two periods, the overwhelming difference between them is that hominin
Schoennagel, Tania; Balch, Jennifer K; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Dennison, Philip E; Harvey, Brian J; Krawchuk, Meg A; Mietkiewicz, Nathan; Morgan, Penelope; Moritz, Max A; Rasker, Ray; Turner, Monica G; Whitlock, Cathy
Wildfires across western North America have increased in number and size over the past three decades, and this trend will continue in response to further warming. As a consequence, the wildland-urban interface is projected to experience substantially higher risk of climate-driven fires in the coming decades. Although many plants, animals, and ecosystem services benefit from fire, it is unknown how ecosystems will respond to increased burning and warming. Policy and management have focused primarily on specified resilience approaches aimed at resistance to wildfire and restoration of areas burned by wildfire through fire suppression and fuels management. These strategies are inadequate to address a new era of western wildfires. In contrast, policies that promote adaptive resilience to wildfire, by which people and ecosystems adjust and reorganize in response to changing fire regimes to reduce future vulnerability, are needed. Key aspects of an adaptive resilience approach are ( i ) recognizing that fuels reduction cannot alter regional wildfire trends; ( ii ) targeting fuels reduction to increase adaptation by some ecosystems and residential communities to more frequent fire; ( iii ) actively managing more wild and prescribed fires with a range of severities; and ( iv ) incentivizing and planning residential development to withstand inevitable wildfire. These strategies represent a shift in policy and management from restoring ecosystems based on historical baselines to adapting to changing fire regimes and from unsustainable defense of the wildland-urban interface to developing fire-adapted communities. We propose an approach that accepts wildfire as an inevitable catalyst of change and that promotes adaptive responses by ecosystems and residential communities to more warming and wildfire.
Lanorte, A.; Lasaponara, R.
This paper addresses the wildfire regime in Mediterranean ecosystems of Southern Italy. Fire regimes refer to average fire conditions (including fire size, fire density, fire frequency, fire seasonality, fire intensity, fire severity, fire thresholds, etc.) occurring over a long period of time. Information on spatial pattern of forest fire locations is a key point in the study of the dynamics of fire disturbance, and allows us to improve the knowledge of past and current role of fire. Historical evidence clearly shows what did happen and this can fruitfully help to understand what is happening and what could happen in the next future. Mapping fire regimes is very challenging, because fire ocurrence features are the expression of the interactions between climate, fire, vegetation, topography, social factors. The main objective of this work is to provide a comprehensive characterization of the fire regime in Italy based on a recently updated national wildfire database. Fire data were obtained from the Italian National Forestry Service. This national database is comprised of information contained in individual fire reports completed for every fire that occurs on public lands in the Italian peninsula. Complete data were only available for 1996-2006 at the time we accessed the database, which determined the years we analysed. The primary fire history variables that we reported were number of fires, area burned, burning time and duration, and fire size (average size of individual fires) The wildfire records (wildfire area, location, time, vegetation) were analysed with other environmental (fuel availability and type), topographic features, and meteorological/climatological data. Results of our analysis could help better understand the different factors on the wildfire regime in Mediterranean ecosystems of Southern Italy.
Silins, U.; Bladon, K. D.; Stone, M.; Emelko, M. B.; Collins, A.; Boon, S.; Williams, C.; Wagner, M. J.; Martens, A. M.; Anderson, A.
Broad regions of western North America rely on water supplies that originate from forested regions of the Rocky Mountain cordillera where landuse pressures, and stresses including changing natural disturbance regimes associated with shifting climates has been impacting critical source water supplies from this region. Increases in magnitude and severity of wildfires along with impacts on downstream water supplies has been observed along the length of the North American Rocky Mountain chain, however, the longevity of these impacts (including impacts to important water quality parameters) remain highly uncertain because processes regulating recovery from such disturbances can span a range of timescales from a few years to decades depending on both the hydro-climatic regime, and which water quality parameters are important. Studies document such long-term changes are few. The Southern Rockies Watershed Project (SRWP) was established to document the magnitude and recovery from the severe 2003 Lost Creek wildfire in the Crowsnest Pass region of southwest Alberta, Canada. Hydrology, water quality (physical & chemical) have been studies in 9 instrumented catchments (4-14 km2) encompassing burned, burned and salvage logged, prescribed burned, and unburned (reference) conditions since late winter 2004. While most important water quality parameters were strongly elevated in burned and burned-salvage logged catchments after the fire, strongly differential rates of recovery were observed for contaminant concentration, export, and yield across a range of water quality parameters (2004-2011). For example, while various nitrogen (N) species (total nitrogen, dissolved nitrogen, NO3-, NH4+) showed 2-7 fold increases in concentration the first 1-2 years after the wildfire, N recovered back to baseline concentrations 4-5 years after the wildfire. In contrast, eight full years after the wildfire (2011), no recovery of sediment or phosphorus (P) production (soluble reactive, total
Boisramé, Gabrielle; Thompson, Sally; Stephens, Scott
Many forested mountain watersheds worldwide evolved with frequent fire, which Twentieth Century fire suppression activities eliminated, resulting in unnaturally dense forests with high water demand. Restoration of pre-suppression forest composition and structure through a variety of management activities could improve forest resilience and water yields. This study explores the potential for "managed wildfire", whereby naturally ignited fires are allowed to burn, to alter the water balance. Interest in this type of managed wildfire is increasing, yet its long-term effects on water balance are uncertain. We use soil moisture as a spatially-distributed hydrologic indicator to assess the influence of vegetation, fire history and landscape position on water availability in the Illilouette Creek Basin in Yosemite National Park. Over 6000 manual surface soil moisture measurements were made over a period of three years, and supplemented with continuous soil moisture measurements over the top 1m of soil in three sites. Random forest and linear mixed effects models showed a dominant effect of vegetation type and history of vegetation change on measured soil moisture. Contemporary and historical vegetation maps were used to upscale the soil moisture observations to the basin and infer soil moisture under fire-suppressed conditions. Little change in basin-averaged soil moisture was inferred due to managed wildfire, but the results indicated that large localized increases in soil moisture had occurred, which could have important impacts on local ecology or downstream flows.
Rebecca L. Flitcroft; Jeffrey A. Falke; Gordon H. Reeves; Paul F. Hessburg; Kris M. McNyset; Lee E. Benda
Pacific Northwest salmonids are adapted to natural disturbance regimes that create dynamic habitat patterns over space and through time. However, human land use, particularly long-term fire suppression, has altered the intensity and frequency of wildfire in forested upland and riparian areas. To examine the potential impacts of wildfire on aquatic systems, we developed...
Wine, Michael L.; Cadol, Daniel; Makhnin, Oleg
Continued growth of the human population on Earth will increase pressure on already stressed terrestrial water resources required for drinking water, agriculture, and industry. This stress demands improved understanding of critical controls on water resource availability, particularly in water-limited regions. Mechanistic predictions of future water resource availability are needed because non-stationary conditions exist in the form of changing climatic conditions, land management paradigms, and ecological disturbance regimes. While historically ecological disturbances have been small and could be neglected relative to climatic effects, evidence is accumulating that ecological disturbances, particularly wildfire, can increase regional water availability. However, wildfire hydrologic impacts are typically estimated locally and at small spatial scales, via disparate measurement methods and analysis techniques, and outside the context of climate change projections. Consequently, the relative importance of climate change driven versus wildfire driven impacts on streamflow remains unknown across the western USA. Here we show that considering wildfire in modeling streamflow significantly improves model predictions. Mixed effects modeling attributed 2%-14% of long-term annual streamflow to wildfire effects. The importance of this wildfire-linked streamflow relative to predicted climate change-induced streamflow reductions ranged from 20%-370% of the streamflow decrease predicted to occur by 2050. The rate of post-wildfire vegetation recovery and the proportion of watershed area burned controlled the wildfire effect. Our results demonstrate that in large areas of the western USA affected by wildfire, regional predictions of future water availability are subject to greater structural uncertainty than previously thought. These results suggest that future streamflows may be underestimated in areas affected by increased prevalence of hydrologically relevant ecological
Bruce E. Rieman; Paul F. Hessburg; Charles Luce; Matthew R. Dare
Wildfire is a critical land management issue in the western United States. Efforts to mitigate the effects of altered fire regimes have led to debate over ecological restoration versus species conservation framed at the conjuncture of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and their respective management regimes. Fire-related management activities may disrupt watershed...
Hossack, Blake R; Lowe, Winsor H; Corn, Paul Stephen
Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of drought and wildfire. Aquatic and moisture-sensitive species, such as amphibians, may be particularly vulnerable to these modified disturbance regimes because large wildfires often occur during extended droughts and thus may compound environmental threats. However, understanding of the effects of wildfires on amphibians in forests with long fire-return intervals is limited. Numerous stand-replacing wildfires have occurred since 1988 in Glacier National Park (Montana, U.S.A.), where we have conducted long-term monitoring of amphibians. We measured responses of 3 amphibian species to fires of different sizes, severity, and age in a small geographic area with uniform management. We used data from wetlands associated with 6 wildfires that burned between 1988 and 2003 to evaluate whether burn extent and severity and interactions between wildfire and wetland isolation affected the distribution of breeding populations. We measured responses with models that accounted for imperfect detection to estimate occupancy during prefire (0-4 years) and different postfire recovery periods. For the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) and Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris), occupancy was not affected for 6 years after wildfire. But 7-21 years after wildfire, occupancy for both species decreased ≥ 25% in areas where >50% of the forest within 500 m of wetlands burned. In contrast, occupancy of the boreal toad (Anaxyrus boreas) tripled in the 3 years after low-elevation forests burned. This increase in occupancy was followed by a gradual decline. Our results show that accounting for magnitude of change and time lags is critical to understanding population dynamics of amphibians after large disturbances. Our results also inform understanding of the potential threat of increases in wildfire frequency or severity to amphibians in the region. ©2012 Society for Conservation Biology.
Alan A. Ager
Full Text Available Wildland fire suppression practices in the western United States are being widely scrutinized by policymakers and scientists as costs escalate and large fires increasingly affect social and ecological values. One potential solution is to change current fire suppression tactics to intentionally increase the area burned under conditions when risks are acceptable to managers and fires can be used to achieve long-term restoration goals in fire adapted forests. We conducted experiments with the Envision landscape model to simulate increased levels of wildfire over a 50-year period on a 1.2 million ha landscape in the eastern Cascades of Oregon, USA. We hypothesized that at some level of burned area fuels would limit the growth of new fires, and fire effects on the composition and structure of forests would eventually reduce future fire intensity and severity. We found that doubling current rates of wildfire resulted in detectable feedbacks in area burned and fire intensity. Area burned in a given simulation year was reduced about 18% per unit area burned in the prior five years averaged across all scenarios. The reduction in area burned was accompanied by substantially lower fire severity, and vegetation shifted to open forest and grass-shrub conditions at the expense of old growth habitat. Negative fire feedbacks were slightly moderated by longer-term positive feedbacks, in which the effect of prior area burned diminished during the simulation. We discuss trade-offs between managing fuels with wildfire versus prescribed fire and mechanical fuel treatments from a social and policy standpoint. The study provides a useful modeling framework to consider the potential value of fire feedbacks as part of overall land management strategies to build fire resilient landscapes and reduce wildfire risk to communities in the western U.S. The results are also relevant to prior climate-wildfire studies that did not consider fire feedbacks in projections of future
H. T. Root; J. C. Brinda; E. K. Dodson
Changing fire regimes in western North America may impact biological soil crust (BSC) communities that influence many ecosystem functions, such as soil stability and C and N cycling. However, longer-term effects of wildfire on BSC abundance, species richness, functional groups, and ecosystem functions after wildfire (i.e., BSC resilience) are still poorly understood. We sampled BSC lichen and bryophyte communities at four sites in Idaho, USA, within foothill steppe commu...
Francois-Nicolas Robinne; Carol Miller; Marc-Andre Parisien; Monica B. Emelko; Kevin D. Bladon; Uldis Silins; Mike Flannigan
Wildfires are keystone components of natural disturbance regimes that maintain ecosystem structure and functions, such as the hydrological cycle, in many parts of the world. Consequently, critical surface freshwater resources can be exposed to post-fire effects disrupting their quantity, quality and regularity. Although well studied at the local scale, the potential...
D. Max Smith; Jeffrey Kelly; Deborah M. Finch
Annually emerging cicadas are a numerically and ecologically dominant species in Southwestern riparian forests. Humans have altered disturbance regimes that structure these forests such that floods are less common and wildfires occur more frequently than was historically the case. Impacts of these changes on primary consumers such as riparian cicadas are unknown....
Anthony L. Westerling; Monica G. Turner; Erica A. H. Smithwick; William H. Romme; Michael G. Ryan
Climate change is likely to alter wildfire regimes, but the magnitude and timing of potential climate-driven changes in regional fire regimes are not well understood. We considered how the occurrence, size, and spatial location of large fires might respond to climate projections in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem (GYE) (Wyoming), a large wildland ecosystem dominated...
Breen, A. L.; Hollingsworth, T. N.; Mack, M. C.; Jones, B. M.
Rapid climate change is affecting climate-sensitive disturbance regimes throughout the world. In particular, the impacts of climate change on Arctic disturbance regimes are poorly understood because landscape-scale disturbances are infrequent or occur in remote localities. Wildfire in Arctic Alaska is presently limited by ignition source and favorable burn weather. With rapid climate change, a lengthening growing season, and subsequent increase in plant biomass and productivity, wildfire frequency and annual area burned in tundra ecosystems is expected to increase over the next century. Yet, post-fire tundra vegetation succession is inadequately characterized except at a few point locations. We identify succession stages of tussock tundra communities following wildfire using a chronosequence of 65 relevés in 10 tundra fire scars (1971-2011) and nearby unburned tundra from sites on the Seward Peninsula and northern foothills of the Brooks Range. We used the Braun-Blanquét approach to classify plant communities, and applied nonmetric multidimentional scaling (NMDS) to identify ecological gradients underlying community differentiation. The ordination revealed a clear differentiation between unburned and burned tundra communities. Ecological gradients, reflected by ordination axes, correspond to fire history (e.g., time since last fire, number of times burned, burn severity) and a complex productivity gradient. Post-fire species richness is less than unburned tundra; primarily reflected as a decrease in lichen species and turnover of bryophyte species immediately post-fire. Species richness of grasses increases post-fire and is greatest in communities that burned more than once in the past 30 years. Shrub cover and total aboveground biomass are greatest in repeat burn sites. We review and discuss our results focusing on the implications of a changing tundra fire regime, its effect on vegetation succession trajectories, and subsequent rates of carbon sequestration and
Paveglio, Travis B; Edgeley, Catrin M; Stasiewicz, Amanda M
A growing body of research focuses on identifying patterns among human populations most at risk from hazards such as wildfire and the factors that help explain performance of mitigations that can help reduce that risk. Emerging policy surrounding wildfire management emphasizes the need to better understand such social vulnerability-or human populations' potential exposure to and sensitivity from wildfire-related impacts, including their ability to reduce negative impacts from the hazard. Studies of social vulnerability to wildfire often pair secondary demographic data with a variety of vegetation and wildfire simulation models to map potential risk. However, many of the assumptions made by those researchers about the demographic, spatial or perceptual factors that influence social vulnerability to wildfire have not been fully evaluated or tested against objective measures of potential wildfire risk. The research presented here utilizes self-reported surveys, GIS data, and wildfire simulations to test the relationships between select perceptual, demographic, and property characteristics of property owners against empirically simulated metrics for potential wildfire related damages or exposure. We also evaluate how those characteristics relate to property owners' performance of mitigations or support for fire management. Our results suggest that parcel characteristics provide the most significant explanation of variability in wildfire exposure, sensitivity and overall wildfire risk, while the positive relationship between income or property values and components of social vulnerability stands in contrast to typical assumptions from existing literature. Respondents' views about agency or government management helped explain a significant amount of variance in wildfire sensitivity, while the importance of wildfire risk in selecting a residence was an important influence on mitigation action. We use these and other results from our effort to discuss updated
Remy, Cécile C.; Hély, Christelle; Blarquez, Olivier; Magnan, Gabriel; Bergeron, Yves; Lavoie, Martin; Ali, Adam A.
Global warming could increase climatic instability and large wildfire activity in circumboreal regions, potentially impairing both ecosystem functioning and human health. However, links between large wildfire events and climatic and/or meteorological conditions are still poorly understood, partly because few studies have covered a wide range of past climate-fire interactions. We compared palaeofire and simulated climatic data over the last 7000 years to assess causes of large wildfire events in three coniferous boreal forest regions in north-eastern Canada. These regions span an east-west cline, from a hilly region influenced by the Atlantic Ocean currently dominated by Picea mariana and Abies balsamea to a flatter continental region dominated by Picea mariana and Pinus banksiana. The largest wildfires occurred across the entire study zone between 3000 and 1000 cal. BP. In western and central continental regions these events were triggered by increases in both the fire-season length and summer/spring temperatures, while in the eastern region close to the ocean they were likely responses to hydrological (precipitation/evapotranspiration) variability. The impact of climatic drivers on fire size varied spatially across the study zone, confirming that regional climate dynamics could modulate effects of global climate change on wildfire regimes.
Pausas, Juli G.; Keeley, Jon E.
Wildfires have played a determining role in distribution, composition and structure of many ecosystems worldwide and climatic changes are widely considered to be a major driver of future fire regime changes. However, forecasting future climatic change induced impacts on fire regimes will require a clearer understanding of other drivers of abrupt fire regime changes. Here, we focus on evidence from different environmental and temporal settings of fire regimes changes that are not directly attributed to climatic changes. We review key cases of these abrupt fire regime changes at different spatial and temporal scales, including those directly driven (i) by fauna, (ii) by invasive plant species, and (iii) by socio-economic and policy changes. All these drivers might generate non-linear effects of landscape changes in fuel structure; that is, they generate fuel changes that can cross thresholds of landscape continuity, and thus drastically change fire activity. Although climatic changes might contribute to some of these changes, there are also many instances that are not primarily linked to climatic shifts. Understanding the mechanism driving fire regime changes should contribute to our ability to better assess future fire regimes.
Burzynski, A. M.; Beavers, A.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) maintains approximately 28 million acres of land across 420 of their largest installations. These sites harbored 425 federally listed Threatened and Endangered species as of 2013, representing a density of rare species that is several times greater than any other land management agency in the U.S. This is a major driver of DoD natural resources policy and many of these species are affected by wildland fire, both positively and negatively. Military installations collectively experience thousands of wildfires per year, and the majority of ignitions are caused by mission and training activities that can be planned to accommodate fire risk. Motivated by the need for accurately modeled wildfire under the unique land-use conditions of military installations and the assessment of risk exposure at installations throughout the U.S., we developed custom, FARSITE-based scientific software that applies a Monte Carlo approach to wildfire risk analysis. This simulation accounts for the dynamics of vegetation and weather over time, as well as the spatial and temporal distribution of wildfire ignitions, and can be applied to landscapes up to several million acres in size. The data-driven simulation provides insight that feeds directly into mitigation decision-making and can be used to assess future risk scenarios, both real and hypothetical. We highlight an example of a future scenario comparing wildfire behavior between unmitigated fuels and one in which a prescribed burn program is implemented. The same process can be used for a variety of scenarios including changes in vegetation (e.g. new or altered grazing regimes, extreme weather, or drought) and changes in spatiotemporal ignition probability. The modeling capabilities that we apply to predicting wildfire risk on military lands are also relevant to the greater scientific community for modeling wildland fire in the context of environmental change, historical ecology, or climate change.
Altintas, I.; Block, J.; Braun, H.; de Callafon, R. A.; Gollner, M. J.; Smarr, L.; Trouve, A.
Recent studies confirm that climate change will cause wildfires to increase in frequency and severity in the coming decades especially for California and in much of the North American West. The most critical sustainability issue in the midst of these ever-changing dynamics is how to achieve a new social-ecological equilibrium of this fire ecology. Wildfire wind speeds and directions change in an instant, and first responders can only be effective when they take action as quickly as the conditions change. To deliver information needed for sustainable policy and management in this dynamically changing fire regime, we must capture these details to understand the environmental processes. We are building an end-to-end cyberinfrastructure (CI), called WIFIRE, for real-time and data-driven simulation, prediction and visualization of wildfire behavior. The WIFIRE integrated CI system supports social-ecological resilience to the changing fire ecology regime in the face of urban dynamics and climate change. Networked observations, e.g., heterogeneous satellite data and real-time remote sensor data is integrated with computational techniques in signal processing, visualization, modeling and data assimilation to provide a scalable, technological, and educational solution to monitor weather patterns to predict a wildfire's Rate of Spread. Our collaborative WIFIRE team of scientists, engineers, technologists, government policy managers, private industry, and firefighters architects implement CI pathways that enable joint innovation for wildfire management. Scientific workflows are used as an integrative distributed programming model and simplify the implementation of engineering modules for data-driven simulation, prediction and visualization while allowing integration with large-scale computing facilities. WIFIRE will be scalable to users with different skill-levels via specialized web interfaces and user-specified alerts for environmental events broadcasted to receivers before
Gaglioti, Benjamin V.; Mann, Daniel H.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Wooller, Matthew J.; Finney, Bruce P.
Stand-replacing wildfires are a keystone disturbance in the boreal forest, and they are becoming more common as the climate warms. Paleo-fire archives from the wildland–urban interface can quantify the prehistoric fire regime and assess how both human land-use and climate change impact ecosystem dynamics. Here, we use a combination of a sedimentary charcoal record preserved in varved lake sediments (annually layered) and fire scars in living trees to document changes in local fire return intervals (FRIs) and regional fire activity over the last 500 years. Ace Lake is within the boreal forest, located near the town of Fairbanks in interior Alaska, which was settled by gold miners in AD 1902. In the 400 years before settlement, fires occurred near the lake on average every 58 years. After settlement, fires became much more frequent (average every 18 years), and background charcoal flux rates rose to four times their preindustrial levels, indicating a region-wide increase in burning. Despite this surge in burning, the preindustrial boreal forest ecosystem and permafrost in the watershed have remained intact. Although fire suppression has reduced charcoal influx since the 1950s, an aging fuel load experiencing increasingly warm summers may pose management problems for this and other boreal sites that have similar land-use and fire histories. The large human-caused fire events that we identify can be used to test how increasingly common megafires may alter ecosystem dynamics in the future.
Jiménez-Ruano, Adrián; Rodrigues Mimbrero, Marcos; de la Riva Fernández, Juan
Understanding fire regime is a crucial step towards achieving a better knowledge of the wildfire phenomenon. This study proposes a method for the analysis of fire regime based on multidimensional scatterplots (MDS). MDS are a visual approach that allows direct comparison among several variables and fire regime features so that we are able to unravel spatial patterns and relationships within the region of analysis. Our analysis is conducted in Spain, one of the most fire-affected areas within the Mediterranean region. Specifically, the Spanish territory has been split into three regions - Northwest, Hinterland and Mediterranean - considered as representative fire regime zones according to MAGRAMA (Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Food). The main goal is to identify key relationships between fire frequency and burnt area, two of the most common fire regime features, with socioeconomic activity and climate. In this way we will be able to better characterize fire activity within each fire region. Fire data along the period 1974-2010 was retrieved from the General Statistics Forest Fires database (EGIF). Specifically, fire frequency and burnt area size was examined for each region and fire season (summer and winter). Socioeconomic activity was defined in terms of human pressure on wildlands, i.e. the presence and intensity of anthropogenic activity near wildland or forest areas. Human pressure was built from GIS spatial information about land use (wildland-agriculture and wildland-urban interface) and demographic potential. Climate variables (average maximum temperature and annual precipitation) were extracted from MOTEDAS (Monthly Temperature Dataset of Spain) and MOPREDAS (Monthly Precipitation Dataset of Spain) datasets and later reclassified into ten categories. All these data were resampled to fit the 10x10 Km grid used as spatial reference for fire data. Climate and socioeconomic variables were then explored by means of MDS to find the extent to
Goforth, Brett R; Minnich, Richard A
For more than half a century, ecologists and historians have been integrating the contemporary study of ecosystems with data gathered from historical sources to evaluate change over broad temporal and spatial scales. This approach is especially useful where ecosystems were altered before formal study as a result of natural resources management, land development, environmental pollution, and climate change. Yet, in many places, historical documents do not provide precise information, and pre-historical evidence is unavailable or has ambiguous interpretation. There are similar challenges in evaluating how the fire regime of chaparral in California has changed as a result of fire suppression management initiated at the beginning of the 20th century. Although the firestorm of October 2003 was the largest officially recorded in California (approximately 300,000 ha), historical accounts of pre-suppression wildfires have been cited as evidence that such a scale of burning was not unprecedented, suggesting the fire regime and patch mosaic in chaparral have not substantially changed. We find that the data do not support pre-suppression megafires, and that the impression of large historical wildfires is a result of imprecision and inaccuracy in the original reports, as well as a parlance that is beset with hyperbole. We underscore themes of importance for critically analyzing historical documents to evaluate ecological change. A putative 100 mile long by 10 mile wide (160 x 16 km) wildfire reported in 1889 was reconstructed to an area of chaparral approximately 40 times smaller by linking local accounts to property tax records, voter registration rolls, claimed insurance, and place names mapped with a geographical information system (GIS) which includes data from historical vegetation surveys. We also show that historical sources cited as evidence of other large chaparral wildfires are either demonstrably inaccurate or provide anecdotal information that is immaterial in the
Foster, C N; Barton, P S; Robinson, N M; MacGregor, C I; Lindenmayer, D B
Management guidelines for many fire-prone ecosystems highlight the importance of maintaining a variable mosaic of fire histories for biodiversity conservation. Managers are encouraged to aim for fire mosaics that are temporally and spatially dynamic, include all successional states of vegetation, and also include variation in the underlying "invisible mosaic" of past fire frequencies, severities, and fire return intervals. However, establishing and maintaining variable mosaics in contemporary landscapes is subject to many challenges, one of which is deciding how the fire mosaic should be managed following the occurrence of large, unplanned wildfires. A key consideration for this decision is the extent to which the effects of previous fire history on vegetation and habitats persist after major wildfires, but this topic has rarely been investigated empirically. In this study, we tested to what extent a large wildfire interacted with previous fire history to affect the structure of forest, woodland, and heath vegetation in Booderee National Park in southeastern Australia. In 2003, a summer wildfire burned 49.5% of the park, increasing the extent of recently burned vegetation (post-fire) to more than 72% of the park area. We tracked the recovery of vegetation structure for nine years following the wildfire and found that the strength and persistence of fire effects differed substantially between vegetation types. Vegetation structure was modified by wildfire in forest, woodland, and heath vegetation, but among-site variability in vegetation structure was reduced only by severe fire in woodland vegetation. There also were persistent legacy effects of the previous fire regime on some attributes of vegetation structure including forest ground and understorey cover, and woodland midstorey and overstorey cover. For example, woodland midstorey cover was greater on sites with higher fire frequency, irrespective of the severity of the 2003 wildfire. Our results show that even
Rosenberger, Amanda E.; Dunham, Jason B.; Neuswanger, Jason R.; Railsback, Steven F.
Management of aquatic resources in fire-prone areas requires understanding of fish species’ responses to wildfire and of the intermediate- and long-term consequences of these disturbances. We examined Rainbow Trout populations in 9 headwater streams 10 y after a major wildfire: 3 with no history of severe wildfire in the watershed (unburned), 3 in severely burned watersheds (burned), and 3 in severely burned watersheds subjected to immediate events that scoured the stream channel and eliminated streamside vegetation (burned and reorganized). Results of a previous study of this system suggested the primary lasting effects of this wildfire history on headwater stream habitat were differences in canopy cover and solar radiation, which led to higher summer stream temperatures. Nevertheless, trout were present throughout streams in burned watersheds. Older age classes were least abundant in streams draining watersheds with a burned and reorganized history, and individuals >1 y old were most abundant in streams draining watersheds with an unburned history. Burned history corresponded with fast growth, low lipid content, and early maturity of Rainbow Trout. We used an individual-based model of Rainbow Trout growth and demographic patterns to determine if temperature interactions with bioenergetics and competition among individuals could lead to observed phenotypic and ecological differences among populations in the absence of other plausible mechanisms. Modeling suggested that moderate warming associated with wildfire and channel disturbance history leads to faster individual growth, which exacerbates competition for limited food, leading to decreases in population densities. The inferred mechanisms from this modeling exercise suggest the transferability of ecological patterns to a variety of temperature-warming scenarios.
Full Text Available This paper presents the results of an operational nationwide burnt area mapping service realized over Greece for the years 2007–2011, through the implementation of the so-called BSM_NOA dedicated method developed at the National Observatory of Athens for post-fire recovery management. The method exploits multispectral satellite imagery, such as Landsat-TM, SPOT, FORMOSAT-2, WorldView and IKONOS. The analysis of fire size distribution reveals that a high number of fire events evolve to large and extremely large wildfires under favorable wildfire conditions, confirming the reported trend of an increasing fire-severity in recent years. Furthermore, under such conditions wildfires affect to a higher degree areas at high altitudes, threatening the existence of ecologically significant ecosystems. Finally, recent socioeconomic changes and land abandonment has resulted in the encroachment of former agricultural areas of limited productivity by shrubs and trees, resulting both in increased fuel availability and continuity, and subsequently increased burnability.
Olsen, N.; Counts, A.; Quistorff, C.; Ohr, C. A.; Toner, C.
Increasing wildfire frequency and severity has emphasized the importance of post-wildfire recovery efforts in southern Idaho's sagebrush ecosystems. These changing fire regimes favor invasive grass species while hindering native sagebrush habitat regeneration, causing a positive feedback cycle of invasive growth - wildfires - invasive growth. Due to this undesirable process and anthropogenic influences, the sagebrush ecosystem is one of the most endangered in the US. In this project the NASA DEVELOP group of Pocatello, Idaho partnered with the Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and the US Department of Agriculture to characterize ecosystem recovery following the Crystal (2006), Henry Creek (2016), Jefferson (2010), and Soda (2015) wildfires. Determining vegetation cover heterogeneity and density can be time consuming and the factors affecting ecosystem recovery can be complex. In addition, restoration success is difficult to determine as vegetation composition is not often known prior to wildfire events and monitoring vegetation composition after restoration efforts can be resource intensive. These wildfires temporal monitoring consisted of 2001 to 2017 using NASA Earth observations such as Landsat 5 Thermal Mapper (TM), Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI), Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) to determine the most significant factors of wildfire recovery and the influence targeted grazing could have for recovery. In addition, this project will include monitoring of invasive species propagation and whether spatial patterns or extents of the wildfire contribute to propagation. Understanding the key variables that made reseeding and natural recovery work in some areas, assessing why they failed in others, and identifying factors that made non-native propagation ideal are important issues for land managers in this region.
Wibbenmeyer, Matthew J; Hand, Michael S; Calkin, David E; Venn, Tyron J; Thompson, Matthew P
Federal policy has embraced risa management as an appropriate paradigm for wildfire management. Economic theory suggests that over repeated wildfire events, potential economic costs and risas of ecological damage are optimally balanced when management decisions are free from biases, risa aversion, and risa seeking. Of primary concern in this article is how managers respond to wildfire risa, including the potential effect of wildfires (on ecological values, structures, and safety) and the likelihood of different fire outcomes. We use responses to a choice experiment questionnaire of U.S. federal wildfire managers to measure attitudes toward several components of wildfire risa and to test whether observed risa attitudes are consistent with the efficient allocation of wildfire suppression resources. Our results indicate that fire managers' decisions are consistent with nonexpected utility theories of decisions under risa. Managers may overallocate firefighting resources when the likelihood or potential magnitude of damage from fires is low, and sensitivity to changes in the probability of fire outcomes depends on whether probabilities are close to one or zero and the magnitude of the potential harm. © 2012 Society for Risk Analysis.
Hossack, Blake R.; Corn, P. Stephen; Winsor H. Lowe,; R. Kenneth Honeycutt,; Sean A. Parks,
Projected increases in wildfire and other climate-driven disturbances will affect populations and communities worldwide, including host–parasite relationships. Research in temperate forests has shown that wildfire can negatively affect amphibians, but this research has occurred primarily outside of managed landscapes where interactions with human disturbances could result in additive or synergistic effects. Furthermore, parasites represent a large component of biodiversity and can affect host fitness and population dynamics, yet they are rarely included in studies of how vertebrate hosts respond to disturbance. To determine how wildfire affects amphibians and their parasites, and whether effects differ between protected and managed landscapes, we compared abundance of two amphibians and two nematodes relative to wildfire extent and severity around wetlands in neighboring protected and managed forests (Montana, USA). Population sizes of adult, male long-toed salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum) decreased with increased burn severity, with stronger negative effects on isolated populations and in managed forests. In contrast, breeding population sizes of Columbia spotted frogs (Rana luteiventris) increased with burn extent in both protected and managed protected forests. Path analysis showed that the effects of wildfire on the two species of nematodes were consistent with differences in their life history and transmission strategies and the responses of their hosts. Burn severity indirectly reduced abundance of soil-transmitted Cosmocercoides variabilis through reductions in salamander abundance. Burn severity also directly reduced C. variabilis abundance, possibly though changes in soil conditions. For the aquatically transmitted nematode Gyrinicola batrachiensis, the positive effect of burn extent on density of Columbia spotted frog larvae indirectly increased parasite abundance. Our results show that effects of wildfire on amphibians depend upon burn extent
This submission captures report on the perennial occurrence of wildfires and their accompanying effects on the inhabitants and the fringe forest communities in the Worobong Forest Reserve within the Eastern part of Ghana. Wildfire continues to be the single serious threat to the sustainable development and management of forest and wildlife resources in Ghana, thus depriving indigenous fringe forest communities of enormous socio-economic benefit of the forest. Locally, fire is used in the preparation of farm lands, tapping of palm-wine, charcoal production, honey harvesting, etc. This paper identifies some of the effects of wildfires on the indigenous communities and various interventions made to address the wildfire menace in the area of study over the years. Keywords: Wildfire, Fringe Forest Communities, Sustainable Development Resources, Socio-Economic Benefits
Wildfires have been a major factor in the development and management of the world's forest. An accurate assessment of wildfire status is imperative for fire management. This thesis is dedicated to the topic of utilizing multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to cooperatively monitor a large-scale wildfire. This is achieved through wildfire spreading situation estimation based on on-line measurements and wise cooperation strategy to ensure efficiency. First, based on the understanding of the physical characteristics of the wildfire propagation behavior, a wildfire model and a Kalman filter-based method are proposed to estimate the wildfire rate of spread and the fire front contour profile. With the enormous on-line measurements from on-board sensors of UAVs, the proposed method allows a wildfire monitoring mission to benefit from on-line information updating, increased flexibility, and accurate estimation. An independent wildfire simulator is utilized to verify the effectiveness of the proposed method. Second, based on the filter analysis, wildfire spreading situation and vehicle dynamics, the influence of different cooperation strategies of UAVs to the overall mission performance is studied. The multi-UAV cooperation problem is formulated in a distributed network. A consensus-based method is proposed to help address the problem. The optimal cooperation strategy of UAVs is obtained through mathematical analysis. The derived optimal cooperation strategy is then verified in an independent fire simulation environment to verify its effectiveness.
Flint, K.; Kinoshita, A. M.; Chin, A.; Florsheim, J. L.; Nourbakhshbeidokhti, S.
Wildfire is a landscape-scale disturbance that causes abrupt changes to hydrological responses and sediment flux during subsequent storms. Burning hillslope vegetation during wildfires induces changes to sediment supply and stream flow magnitude. Altered post-fire processes such as channel erosion and sedimentation or flooding enhance downstream hazards that may threaten human populations and physical aquatic habitat over various time scales. Using data from a small drainage basin (Williams Canyon, 4.7 km2) in the Colorado front range burned by the 2012 Waldo Fire as a case study, we investigate post-fire recovery and assess changes in fire-related risks to downstream areas. Our local ground-based precipitation, field measurements, terrestrial Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) scanning together with satellite-based remote sensing data (i.e. Landsat) provide a basis for time series analyses of reach-scale erosion and sedimentation response to rainfall patterns as vegetation patterns change following the wildfire. As a first step in quantifying the likelihood and consequences of specific risk scenarios, we examine changes in the combined probability of storm flows and post-fire erosion and sedimentation as vegetation recovers within the study watershed. We explore possible feedbacks and thresholds related to vegetation-hydrology-sediment interactions following wildfire under changing climate regimes. This information is needed to assist in post-fire management to promote sustainability of wildland fluvial systems.
Meg A Krawchuk
Full Text Available Climate change is expected to alter the geographic distribution of wildfire, a complex abiotic process that responds to a variety of spatial and environmental gradients. How future climate change may alter global wildfire activity, however, is still largely unknown. As a first step to quantifying potential change in global wildfire, we present a multivariate quantification of environmental drivers for the observed, current distribution of vegetation fires using statistical models of the relationship between fire activity and resources to burn, climate conditions, human influence, and lightning flash rates at a coarse spatiotemporal resolution (100 km, over one decade. We then demonstrate how these statistical models can be used to project future changes in global fire patterns, highlighting regional hotspots of change in fire probabilities under future climate conditions as simulated by a global climate model. Based on current conditions, our results illustrate how the availability of resources to burn and climate conditions conducive to combustion jointly determine why some parts of the world are fire-prone and others are fire-free. In contrast to any expectation that global warming should necessarily result in more fire, we find that regional increases in fire probabilities may be counter-balanced by decreases at other locations, due to the interplay of temperature and precipitation variables. Despite this net balance, our models predict substantial invasion and retreat of fire across large portions of the globe. These changes could have important effects on terrestrial ecosystems since alteration in fire activity may occur quite rapidly, generating ever more complex environmental challenges for species dispersing and adjusting to new climate conditions. Our findings highlight the potential for widespread impacts of climate change on wildfire, suggesting severely altered fire regimes and the need for more explicit inclusion of fire in research
Krawchuk, Meg A; Moritz, Max A; Parisien, Marc-André; Van Dorn, Jeff; Hayhoe, Katharine
Climate change is expected to alter the geographic distribution of wildfire, a complex abiotic process that responds to a variety of spatial and environmental gradients. How future climate change may alter global wildfire activity, however, is still largely unknown. As a first step to quantifying potential change in global wildfire, we present a multivariate quantification of environmental drivers for the observed, current distribution of vegetation fires using statistical models of the relationship between fire activity and resources to burn, climate conditions, human influence, and lightning flash rates at a coarse spatiotemporal resolution (100 km, over one decade). We then demonstrate how these statistical models can be used to project future changes in global fire patterns, highlighting regional hotspots of change in fire probabilities under future climate conditions as simulated by a global climate model. Based on current conditions, our results illustrate how the availability of resources to burn and climate conditions conducive to combustion jointly determine why some parts of the world are fire-prone and others are fire-free. In contrast to any expectation that global warming should necessarily result in more fire, we find that regional increases in fire probabilities may be counter-balanced by decreases at other locations, due to the interplay of temperature and precipitation variables. Despite this net balance, our models predict substantial invasion and retreat of fire across large portions of the globe. These changes could have important effects on terrestrial ecosystems since alteration in fire activity may occur quite rapidly, generating ever more complex environmental challenges for species dispersing and adjusting to new climate conditions. Our findings highlight the potential for widespread impacts of climate change on wildfire, suggesting severely altered fire regimes and the need for more explicit inclusion of fire in research on global
Emma F. Betts; Jeremy B. Jones
With climatic warming, wildfire occurrence is increasing in the boreal forest of interior Alaska. Loss of catchment vegetation during fire can impact streams directly through altered solute and debris inputs and changed light and temperature regimes. Over longer time scales, fire can accelerate permafrost degradation, altering catchment hydrology and stream nutrient...
Puig Gironès, Roger; Brotons, Lluís; Pons Ferran, Pere
Wildfires play a determining role in the composition and structure of many plant and animal communities. On the other hand, climate change is considered to be a major driver of current and future fire regime changes. Despite increases in drought in many areas of the world, the effects of aridity on post-fire colonization by animals have been rarely addressed. This study aims to analyse how a regional aridity gradient affects post-fire recovery of vegetation, bird species richness and the numb...
Patricia A. Champ; Nicholas Flores; Hannah Brenkert-Smith
In this presentation, we describe results of a survey to homeowners living in wildfire-prone areas of two counties along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The survey was designed to elicit information on homeowners' experience with wildfire, perceptions of wildfire risk on their property and neighboring properties, mitigation efforts undertaken...
M. Hurteau; M. North
Forests are viewed as a potential sink for carbon (C) that might otherwise contribute to climate change. It is unclear, however, how to manage forests with frequent fire regimes to maximize C storage while reducing C emissions from prescribed burns or wildfire. We modeled the effects of eight different fuel treatments on treebased C storage and release over a century,...
Jonathan D. Coop; Lisa Holsinger; Sarah McClernan; Sean A. Parks
Land use legacies and climate have altered fire regimes across montane forests of much of the southwestern US (Allen and others 2002), and several recent wildfires have been extremely large and severe (Dennison and others 2014). Large openings resulting from high-severity fire in former ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) and mixed conifer forests may be persistent given...
Montenegro, G.; Ginocchio, R.; Segura, A.; Keely, J.E.; Gomez, M.
Wildfires resulting from thunderstorms are common in some Mediterranean-climate regions, such as southern California, and have played an important role in the ecology and evolution of the flora. Mediterranean-climate regions are major centers for human population and thus anthropogenic impacts on fire regimes may have important consequences on these plant formations. However, changes in fire regimes may have different impacts on Mediterranean type-ecosystems depending on the capability of plants to respond to such perturbations. Therefore, we compare here fire regimes and vegetation responses of two Mediterranean-climate regions which differ in wildfire regimes and history of human occupation, the central zone of Chile (matorral) and the southern area of California in United States (chaparral). In Chile almost all fires result from anthropogenic activities, whereas lightning fires resulting from thunderstorms are frequent in California. In both regions fires are more frequent in summer, due to high accumulation of dry plant biomass for ignition. Humans have markedly increased fires frequency both in the matorral and chaparral, but extent of burned areas has remained unaltered, probably due to better fire suppression actions and a decline in the built-up of dry plant fuel associated to increased landscape fragmentation with less flammable agricultural and urban developments. As expected, post-fire plant regeneration responses differs between the matorral and chaparral due to differences in the importance of wildfires as a natural evolutionary force in the system. Plants from the chaparral show a broader range of post-fire regeneration responses than the matorral, from basal resprouting, to lignotuber resprouting, and to fire-stimulated germination and flowering with fire-specific clues such as heat shock, chemicals from smoke or charred wood. Plants from the matorral have some resprouting capabilities after fire, but these probably evolved from other environmental
Gill, A Malcolm; Stephens, Scott L; Cary, Geoffrey J
The worldwide "wildfire" problem is headlined by the loss of human lives and homes, but it applies generally to any adverse effects of unplanned fires, as events or regimes, on a wide range of environmental, social, and economic assets. The problem is complex and contingent, requiring continual attention to the changing circumstances of stakeholders, landscapes, and ecosystems; it occurs at a variety of temporal and spatial scales. Minimizing adverse outcomes involves controlling fires and fire regimes, increasing the resistance of assets to fires, locating or relocating assets away from the path of fires, and, as a probability of adverse impacts often remains, assisting recovery in the short-term while promoting the adaptation of societies in the long-term. There are short- and long-term aspects to each aspect of minimization. Controlling fires and fire regimes may involve fire suppression and fuel treatments such as prescribed burning or non-fire treatments but also addresses issues associated with unwanted fire starts like arson. Increasing the resistance of assets can mean addressing the design and construction materials of a house or the use of personal protective equipment. Locating or relocating assets can mean leaving an area about to be impacted by fire or choosing a suitable place to live; it can also mean the planning of land use. Assisting recovery and promoting adaptation can involve insuring assets and sharing responsibility for preparedness for an event. There is no single, simple, solution. Perverse outcomes can occur. The number of minimizing techniques used, and the breadth and depth of their application, depends on the geographic mix of asset types. Premises for policy consideration are presented.
Ambrosia, V. G.; Dahlgren, R. P.; Watts, A.; Reynolds, K. W.; Ball, T.
Wildfires are regularly occurring emergency events that threaten life, property, and natural resources in every U.S. State and many countries around the world. Despite projections that $1.8 billion will be spent by U.S. Federal agencies alone on wildfires in 2014, the decades-long trend of increasing fire size, severity, and cost is expected to continue. Furthermore, the enormous potential for UAS (and concomitant sensor systems) to serve as geospatial intelligence tools to improve the safety and effectiveness of fire management, and our ability to forecast fire and smoke movements, remains barely tapped. Although orbital sensor assets are can provide the geospatial extent of wildfires, generally those resources are limited in use due to their spatial and temporal resolution limitations. These two critical elements make orbital assets of limited utility for tactical, real-time wildfire management, or for continuous scientific analysis of the temporal dynamics related to fire energy release rates and plume concentrations that vary significantly thru a fire's progression. Large UAS platforms and sensors can and have been used to monitor wildfire events at improved temporal, spatial and radiometric scales, but more focus is being placed on the use of small UAS (sUAS) and sensors to support wildfire observation strategies. The use of sUAS is therefore more critical for TACTICAL management purposes, rather than strategic observations, where small-scale fire developments are critical to understand. This paper will highlight the historical development and use of UAS for fire observations, as well as the current shift in focus to smaller, more affordable UAS for more rapid integration into operational use on wildfire events to support tactical observation strategies, and support wildfire science measurement inprovements.
Patricia M. Alexandre; Miranda H. Mockrin; Susan I. Stewart; Roger B. Hammer; Volker C. Radeloff
The number of wildland-urban interface communities affected by wildfire is increasing, and both wildfire suppression and losses are costly. However, little is known about post-wildfire response by homeowners and communities after buildings are lost. Our goal was to characterise rebuilding and new development after wildfires across the conterminous United States. We...
Wine, M. L.; Cadol, D.
In recent years climate change and historic fire suppression have increased the frequency of large wildfires in the southwestern USA, motivating study of the hydrological consequences of these wildfires at point and watershed scales, typically over short periods of time. These studies have revealed that reduced soil infiltration capacity and reduced transpiration due to tree canopy combustion increase streamflow at the watershed scale. However, the degree to which these local increases in runoff propagate to larger scales—relevant to urban and agricultural water supply—remains largely unknown, particularly in semi-arid mountainous watersheds co-dominated by winter snowmelt and the North American monsoon. To address this question, we selected three New Mexico watersheds—the Jemez (1223 km2), Mogollon (191 km2), and Gila (4807 km2)—that together have been affected by over 100 wildfires since 1982. We then applied climate-driven linear models to test for effects of fire on streamflow metrics after controlling for climatic variability. Here we show that, after controlling for climatic and snowpack variability, significantly more streamflow discharged from the Gila watershed for three to five years following wildfires, consistent with increased regional water yield due to enhanced infiltration-excess overland flow and groundwater recharge at the large watershed scale. In contrast, we observed no such increase in discharge from the Jemez watershed following wildfires. Fire regimes represent a key difference between the contrasting responses of the Jemez and Gila watersheds with the latter experiencing more frequent wildfires, many caused by lightning strikes. While hydrologic dynamics at the scale of large watersheds were previously thought to be climatically dominated, these results suggest that if one fifth or more of a large watershed has been burned in the previous three to five years, significant increases in water yield can be expected.
Hannah Brenkert; Patricia Champ; Nicholas Flores
In-depth interviews conducted with homeowners in Larimer County's Wildland-Urban Interface revealed that homeowners face difficult decisions regarding the implementation of wildfire mitigation measures. Perceptions of wildfire mitigation options may be as important as perceptions of wildfire risk in determining likelihood of implementation. These mitigation...
Heath, J. T.; Chafer, C. J.; van Ogtrop, F. F.; Bishop, T. F. A.
Wildfire is a recurring event which has been acknowledged by the literature to impact the hydrological cycle of a catchment. Hence, wildfire may have a significant impact on water yield levels within a catchment. In Australia, studies of the effect of fire on water yield have been limited to obligate seeder vegetation communities. These communities regenerate from seed banks in the ground or within woody fruits and are generally activated by fire. In contrast, the Sydney Basin is dominated by obligate resprouter communities. These communities regenerate from fire resistant buds found on the plant and are generally found in regions where wildfire is a regular occurrence. The 2001/2002 wildfires in the Sydney Basin provided an opportunity to investigate the impacts of wildfire on water yield in a number of catchments dominated by obligate resprouting communities. The overall aim of this study was to investigate whether there was a difference in water yield post-wildfire. Four burnt subcatchments and 3 control subcatchments were assessed. A general additive model was calibrated using pre-wildfire data and then used to predict post-wildfire water yield using post-wildfire data. The model errors were analysed and it was found that the errors for all subcatchments showed similar trends for the post-wildfire period. This finding demonstrates that wildfires within the Sydney Basin have no significant medium-term impact on water yield.
Caldwell, Megan K.; Hawbaker, Todd J.; Briggs, Jenny S.; Cigan, P.W.; Stitt, Susan
Forests play an important role in sequestering carbon and offsetting anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, but changing disturbance regimes may compromise the capability of forests to store carbon. In the Southern Rocky Mountains, a recent outbreak of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae; MPB) has caused levels of tree mortality that are unprecedented in recorded history. To evaluate the long-term impacts of both this insect outbreak and another characteristic disturbance in these forests, high-severity wildfire, we simulated potential changes in species composition and carbon stocks using the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS). Simulations were completed for 3 scenarios (no disturbance, actual MPB infestation, and modeled wildfire) using field data collected in 2010 at 97 plots in the lodgepole pine-dominated forests of eastern Grand County, Colorado, which were heavily impacted by MPB after 2002. Results of the simulations showed that (1) lodgepole pine remained dominant over time in all scenarios, with basal area recovering to pre-disturbance levels 70–80 yr after disturbance; (2) wildfire caused a greater magnitude of change than did MPB in both patterns of succession and distribution of carbon among biomass pools; (3) levels of standing-live carbon returned to pre-disturbance conditions after 40 vs. 50 yr following MPB vs. wildfire disturbance, respectively, but took 120 vs. 150 yr to converge with conditions in the undisturbed scenario. Lodgepole pine forests appear to be relatively resilient to both of the disturbances we modeled, although changes in climate, future disturbance regimes, and other factors may significantly affect future rates of regeneration and ecosystem response.
Sherriff, Rosemary L; Platt, Rutherford V; Veblen, Thomas T; Schoennagel, Tania L; Gartner, Meredith H
Large recent fires in the western U.S. have contributed to a perception that fire exclusion has caused an unprecedented occurrence of uncharacteristically severe fires, particularly in lower elevation dry pine forests. In the absence of long-term fire severity records, it is unknown how short-term trends compare to fire severity prior to 20th century fire exclusion. This study compares historical (i.e. pre-1920) fire severity with observed modern fire severity and modeled potential fire behavior across 564,413 ha of montane forests of the Colorado Front Range. We used forest structure and tree-ring fire history to characterize fire severity at 232 sites and then modeled historical fire-severity across the entire study area using biophysical variables. Eighteen (7.8%) sites were characterized by low-severity fires and 214 (92.2%) by mixed-severity fires (i.e. including moderate- or high-severity fires). Difference in area of historical versus observed low-severity fire within nine recent (post-1999) large fire perimeters was greatest in lower montane forests. Only 16% of the study area recorded a shift from historical low severity to a higher potential for crown fire today. An historical fire regime of more frequent and low-severity fires at low elevations (historically and continue to be so today. Thinning treatments at higher elevations of the montane zone will not return the fire regime to an historic low-severity regime, and are of questionable effectiveness in preventing severe wildfires. Based on present-day fuels, predicted fire behavior under extreme fire weather continues to indicate a mixed-severity fire regime throughout most of the montane forest zone. Recent large wildfires in the Front Range are not fundamentally different from similar events that occurred historically under extreme weather conditions.
Kharuk, V.; Ponomarev, E. I.; Antamoshkina, O.
The annual burned area in Russia was estimated as 0.55 to 20 Mha with >70% occurred in Siberia. We analyzed Siberian wildfires distribution with respect to elevation, slope steepness and exposure. In addition, wildfires temporal dynamic and latitudinal range were analyzed. We used daily thermal anomalies derived from NOAA/AVHRR and Terra/MODIS satellites (1990-2016). Fire return intervals were (FRI) calculated based on the dendrochronology analysis of samples taken from trees with burn marks. Spatial distribution of wildfires dependent on topo features: relative burned area increase with elevation increase (ca. 1100 m), switching to following decrease. The wildfires frequency exponentially decreased within lowlands - highlands transition. Burned area is increasing with slope steepness increase (up to 5-10°). Fire return intervals (FRI) on the southfacing slopes are about 30% longer than on the north facing. Wildfire re-occurrence is decreasing exponentially: 90% of burns were caused by single fires, 8.5% by double fires, 1% burned three times, and on about 0.05% territory wildfires occurred four times (observed period: 75 yr.). Wildfires area and number, as well as FRI, also dependent on latitude: relative burned area increasing exponentially in norward direction, whereas relative fire number is exponentially decreasing. FRI increases in the northward direction: from 80 years at 62°N to 200 years at the Arctic Circle, and to 300 years at the northern limit of closed forests ( 71+°N). Fire frequency, fire danger period and FRI are strongly correlated with incoming solar radiation (r = 0.81 - 0.95). In 21-s century, a positive trend of wildfires number and area observed in mountain areas in all Siberia. Thus, burned area and number of fires in Siberia are significantly increased since 1990th (R2 =0.47, R2 =0.69, respectively), and that increase correlated with air temperatures and climate aridity increases. However, wildfires are essential for supporting fire
Kettridge, N; Turetsky, M R; Sherwood, J H; Thompson, D K; Miller, C A; Benscoter, B W; Flannigan, M D; Wotton, B M; Waddington, J M
Northern and tropical peatlands represent a globally significant carbon reserve accumulated over thousands of years of waterlogged conditions. It is unclear whether moderate drying predicted for northern peatlands will stimulate burning and carbon losses as has occurred in their smaller tropical counterparts where the carbon legacy has been destabilized due to severe drainage and deep peat fires. Capitalizing on a unique long-term experiment, we quantify the post-wildfire recovery of a northern peatland subjected to decadal drainage. We show that the moderate drop in water table position predicted for most northern regions triggers a shift in vegetation composition previously observed within only severely disturbed tropical peatlands. The combined impact of moderate drainage followed by wildfire converted the low productivity, moss-dominated peatland to a non-carbon accumulating shrub-grass ecosystem. This new ecosystem is likely to experience a low intensity, high frequency wildfire regime, which will further deplete the legacy of stored peat carbon.
Patricia Champ; Geoffrey Donovan; Christopher Barth
In the last 20 years, wildfire damages and the costs of wildfire suppression have risen dramatically. This trend has been attributed to three main factors: climate change, increased fuel loads from a century of wildfire suppression, and increased housing development in fire-prone areas., There is little that fire managers can do about climate change, and current fuel...
Smoke from wildfires can be dangerous to your health. In this podcast, you will learn the health threats of wildfire smoke and steps you can take to minimize these effects. Created: 7/23/2012 by Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (PHPR). Date Released: 7/23/2012.
Palumbo, I.; Lehsten, V.; Balzter, H.
Wildfires are a wide spread global phenomenon. Their activity peaks in the tropical savannas, especially in the African continent, where fires are a key component of ecosystem dynamics. Fires affect the ecological balance between trees and grasses in savannas with concomitant effects on biodiversity, soil fertility and biogeochemical cycles. Large amounts of trace greenhouse gases and aerosols from wildfires are emitted each year in Africa, but the underlying dynamics of such wildfires and what drives them remain poorly understood. In general terms, the magnitude and the inter-annual variability of fire activity depend on fire frequency and its spatial distribution, also referred to as fire regimes. These are, in turn, determined by the environmental conditions at the time of burning, ignition sources, fuel type, fuel availability, and its moisture content. This study analysed the driving factors of fire regimes at continental level for a period of 5 years (2002-2007). We considered the following variables: climate (rainfall, temperature, humidity), population density, land cover and the burned areas derived from the MODIS MCD45A1 product at 500m resolution. GIS and multi-variate regression techniques were used to analyse the data. Understanding fire driving factors is fundamentally important for developing process-based simulation models of fire occurrence under future climate and environmental change scenarios. This is particularly relevant if we consider that the IPCC 4th Assessment report indicates that a change in the rainfall patterns has been observed in the last 40 years over most of Africa with a decrease of precipitation around 20-40% in West Africa and more intense and widespread droughts in Southern Africa. The simultaneous increase of temperatures can potentially lead to higher fire occurrence and modify the current fire regimes. This work contributes to climate change research with new insights and understanding about how fires are controlled by
Scott L. Stephens
Full Text Available Knowledge of the ecological effect of wildfire is important to resource managers, especially from forests in which past anthropogenic influences, e.g., fire suppression and timber harvesting, have been limited. Changes to forest structure and regeneration patterns were documented in a relatively unique old-growth Jeffrey pine-mixed conifer forest in northwestern Mexico after a July 2003 wildfire. This forested area has never been harvested and fire suppression did not begin until the 1970s. Fire effects were moderate especially considering that the wildfire occurred at the end of a severe, multi-year (1999-2003 drought. Shrub consumption was an important factor in tree mortality and the dominance of Jeffrey pine increased after fire. The Baja California wildfire enhanced or maintained a patchy forest structure; similar spatial heterogeneity should be included in US forest restoration plans. Most US forest restoration plans include thinning from below to separate tree crowns and attain a narrow range for residual basal area/ha. This essentially produces uniform forest conditions over broad areas that are in strong contrast to the resilient forests in northern Baja California. In addition to producing more spatial heterogeneity in restoration plans of forests that once experienced frequent, low-moderate intensity fire regimes, increased use of US wildfire management options such as wildland fire use as well as appropriate management responses to non-natural ignitions could also be implemented at broader spatial scales to increase the amount of burning in western US forests.
More and more people are making their homes in woodland settings â in or near forests, rural areas, or remote mountain sites - areas in which wildfires are more likely to occur. Wildfires often begin unnoticed. They spread quickly, igniting brush, trees, and homes. CDC recommends taking steps before, during, and after local wildfires to reduce the effect they have on your life.
Nesmith, C.B.; Caprio, Anthony C.; Pfaff, Anne H.; McGinnis, Thomas W.; Keeley, Jon E.
Current goals for prescription burning are focused on measures of fuel consumption and changes in forest density. These benchmarks, however, do not address the extent to which prescription burning meets perceived ecosystem needs of heterogeneity in burning, both for overstory trees and understory herbs and shrubs. There are still questions about how closely prescribed fires mimic these patterns compared to natural wildfires. This study compared burn patterns of prescribed fires and managed unplanned wildfires to understand how the differing burning regimes affect ecosystem properties. Measures of forest structure and fire severity were sampled in three recent prescribed fires and three wildfires managed for resource objectives in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Fine scale patterns of fire severity and heterogeneity were compared between fire types using ground-based measures of fire effects on fuels and overstory and understory vegetation. Prescribed fires and wildfires managed for resource objectives displayed similar patterns of overstory and understory fire severity, heterogeneity, and seedling and sapling survival. Variation among plots within the same fire was always greater than between fire types. Prescribed fires can provide burned landscapes that approximate natural fires in many ways. It is recognized that constraints placed on when wildfires managed for resource objectives are allowed to burn freely may bias the range of conditions that might have been experienced under more natural conditions. Therefore they may not exactly mimic natural wildfires. Overall, the similarity in fire effects that we observed between prescribed fires and managed wildfires indicate that despite the restrictions that are often placed on prescribed fires, they appear to be creating post-fire conditions that approximate natural fires when assessed on a fine spatial scale.
Scheller, R.; Kretchun, A.
Managing large forested landscape in the context of a changing climate and altered disturbance regimes presents new challenges and require integrated assessments of forest disturbance, management, succession, and the carbon cycle. Successful management under these circumstances will require information about trade-offs among multiple objectives and opportunities for spatially optimized landscape-scale management. Improved information about the effects of climate on forest communities, disturbance feedbacks, and the effectiveness of mitigation strategies enables actionable options for landscape managers. We evaluated the effects of fire suppression, wildfires, and forest fuel (thinning) treatments on the long-term carbon storage potential for Lake Tahoe Basin (LTB) forests under various climate futures. We simulated management scenarios that encompass fuel treatments across the larger landscape, beyond the Wildland Urban Interface. We improved upon current fire modeling under climate change via an integrated fire modeling module that, a) explicitly captures the influence of climate, fuels, topography, active fire management (e.g., fire suppression), and fuel treatments, and b) can be parameterized from available data, e.g., remote sensing, field reporting, fire databases, expert opinion. These improvements increase geographic flexibility and decrease reliance on broad historical fire regime statistics - imperfect targets for a no analog future and require minimal parameterization and calibration. We assessed the interactions among fuel treatments, prescribe fire, fire suppression, and stochastically recurring wildfires. Predicted changes in climate and ignition patterns in response to future climatic conditions, vegetation dynamics, and fuel treatments indicate larger potential long-term effects on C emissions, forest structure, and forest composition than prior studies.
Úbeda, Xavier; Sarricolea, Pablo
This paper reviews the literature examining the wildfire phenomenon in Chile. Since ancient times, Chile's wildfires have shaped the country's landscape, but today, as in many other parts of the world, the fire regime - pattern, frequency and intensity - has grown at an alarming rate. In 2014, > 8000 fires were responsible for burning c. 130,000 ha, making it the worst year in Chile's recent history. The reasons for this increase appear to be the increment in the area planted with flammable species; the rejection of these landscape modifications on the part of local communities that target these plantations in arson attacks; and, the adoption of intensive forest management practices resulting in the accumulation of a high fuel load. These trends have left many native species in a precarious situation and forest plantation companies under considerable financial pressure. An additional problem is posed by fires at the wildland urban interface (WUI), threatening those inhabitants that live in Chile's most heavily populated cities. The prevalence of natural fires in Chile; the relationship between certain plant species and fire in terms of seed germination strategies and plant adaptation; the relationship between fire and invasive species; and, the need for fire prevention systems and territorial plans that include fire risk assessments are some of the key aspects discussed in this article. Several of the questions raised will require further research, including just how fire-dependent the ecosystems in Chile are, how the forest at the WUI can be better managed to prevent human and material damage, and how best to address the social controversy that pits the Mapuche population against the timber companies.
Full Text Available This study investigates how federal, state, and private corporate forest owners in a fire-prone landscape of southcentral Oregon manage their forests to reduce wildfire hazard and loss to high-severity wildfire. We evaluate the implications of our findings for concepts of social-ecological resilience. Using interview data, we found a high degree of "response diversity" (variation in forest management decisions and behaviors to reduce wildfire losses between and within actor groups. This response diversity contributed to heterogeneous forest conditions across the landscape and was driven mainly by forest management legacies, economics, and attitudes toward wildfire (fortress protection vs. living with fire. We then used an agent-based landscape model to evaluate trends in forest structure and fire metrics by ownership. Modeling results indicated that, in general, U.S. Forest Service management had the most favorable outcomes for forest resilience to wildfire, and private corporate management the least. However, some state and private corporate forest ownerships have the building blocks for developing fire-resilient forests. Heterogeneity in social-ecological systems is often thought to favor social-ecological resilience. We found that despite high social and ecological heterogeneity in our study area, most forest ownerships do not exhibit characteristics that make them resilient to high-severity fire currently or in the future under current management. Thus, simple theories about resilience based on heterogeneity must be informed by knowledge of the environmental and social conditions that comprise that heterogeneity. Our coupled human and natural systems (CHANS approach enabled us to understand connections among the social, economic, and ecological components of a multiownership, fire-prone ecosystem, and to identify how social-ecological resilience to wildfire might improve through interventions to address key constraints in the system. Our
Jeffrey P. Prestemon; David T. Butry; Karen L. Abt; Ronda Sutphen
Wildfire prevention education efforts involve a variety of methods, including airing public service announcements, distributing brochures, and making presentations, which are intended to reduce the occurrence of certain kinds of wildfires. A Poisson model of preventable Florida wildfires from 2002 to 2007 by fire management region was developed. Controlling for...
L.A. Hermansen-Baez; J.P. Prestemon; D.T. Butry; K.L. Abt; R. Sutphen
While there are many activities that can limit damages from wildfires, such as firefighting efforts and prescribed burning, wildfire prevention education programs can be particularly beneficial. This was confirmed through a study conducted by the Southern Research Station and the National Institute of Standards and Technology that demonstrated that wildfire prevention...
Pointer, R.; Belcher, C.; Hesselbo, S. P.; Hodbod, M.; Pieńkowski, G.
New fossil charcoal abundance and carbon-isotope data from two sedimentary cores provide new evidence of extreme environmental conditions in the Polish Basin during the Latest Triassic to Earliest Jurassic. Sedimentary cores from the Polish Basin provide an excellent record of terrestrial environmental conditions across the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary, a time of climatic extremes. Previous work has shown that the marine realm was affected by a large perturbation to the carbon cycle across the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary (manifested by large negative and positive carbon-isotope excursions) and limited records of charcoal abundance and organic geochemistry have indicated important changes in fire regime in the coeval ecosystems. Here we present two new carbon-isotope records generated from fossil plant matter across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, and present new charcoal records. The charcoal abundance data confirm that there was variation in wildfire activity during the Late Triassic-Early Jurassic in the Polish Basin. Peaks in the number of fossil charcoal fragments present occur in both sedimentary cores, and increases in fossil charcoal abundance are linked to wildfires, signalling a short-lived rise in wildfire activity. Fossil charcoal abundance does not appear to be fully controlled by total organic matter content, depositional environment or bioturbation. We argue that increased wildfire activity is likely caused by an increase in ignition of plant material as a result of an elevated number of lightning strikes. Global warming (caused by a massive input of carbon into the atmosphere, as indicated by carbon-isotope data) can increase storm activity, leading to increased numbers of lightning strikes. Previous Triassic-Jurassic Boundary wildfire studies have found fossil charcoal abundance peaks at other northern hemisphere sites (Denmark & Greenland), and concluded that they represent increases in wildfire activity in the earliest Jurassic. Our new charcoal and
Gordon, Christopher E; Price, Owen F; Tasker, Elizabeth M; Denham, Andrew J
High severity wildfires pose threats to human assets, but are also perceived to impact vegetation communities because a small number of species may become dominant immediately after fire. However there are considerable gaps in our knowledge about species-specific responses of plants to different fire severities, and how this influences fuel hazard in the short and long-term. Here we conduct a floristic survey at sites before and two years after a wildfire of unprecedented size and severity in the Warrumbungle National Park (Australia) to explore relationships between post-fire growth of a fire responsive shrub genera (Acacia), total mid-story vegetation cover, fire severity and fuel hazard. We then survey 129 plots surrounding the park to assess relationships between mid-story vegetation cover and time-since-fire. Acacia species richness and cover were 2.3 and 4.3 times greater at plots after than before the fire. However the same common dominant species were present throughout the study. Mid-story vegetation cover was 1.5 times greater after than before the wildfire, and Acacia species contribution to mid-story cover increased from 10 to 40%. Acacia species richness was not affected by fire severity, however strong positive associations were observed between Acacia and total mid-story vegetation cover and severity. Our analysis of mid-story vegetation recovery showed that cover was similarly high between 2 and 30years post-fire, then decreased until 52years. Collectively, our results suggest that Acacia species are extremely resilient to high severity wildfire and drive short to mid-term increases in fuel hazard. Our results are discussed in relation to fire regime management from the twin perspectives of conserving biodiversity and mitigating human losses due to wildfire. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Havel, Aaron; Tasdighi, Ali; Arabi, Mazdak
This study aims to understand the hydrologic responses to wildfires in mountainous regions at various spatial scales. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was used to evaluate the hydrologic responses of the upper Cache la Poudre Watershed in Colorado to the 2012 High Park and Hewlett wildfire events. A baseline SWAT model was established to simulate the hydrology of the study area between the years 2000 and 2014. A procedure involving land use and curve number updating was implemented to assess the effects of wildfires. Application of the proposed procedure provides the ability to simulate the hydrologic response to wildfires seamlessly through mimicking the dynamic of the changes due to wildfires. The wildfire effects on curve numbers were determined comparing the probability distribution of curve numbers after calibrating the model for pre- and post-wildfire conditions. Daily calibration and testing of the model produced very good results. No-wildfire and wildfire scenarios were created and compared to quantify changes in average annual total runoff volume, water budgets, and full streamflow statistics at different spatial scales. At the watershed scale, wildfire conditions showed little impact on the hydrologic responses. However, a runoff increase up to 75 % was observed between the scenarios in sub-watersheds with high burn intensity. Generally, higher surface runoff and decreased subsurface flow were observed under post-wildfire conditions. Flow duration curves developed for burned sub-watersheds using full streamflow statistics showed that less frequent streamflows become greater in magnitude. A linear regression model was developed to assess the relationship between percent burned area and runoff increase in Cache la Poudre Watershed. A strong (R2 > 0.8) and significant (p statistics through application of flow duration curves revealed that the wildfires had a higher effect on peak flows, which may increase the risk of flash floods in post-wildfire
Hannah Brenkert-Smith; Patricia A. Champ
Wildfire activity continues to plague communities in the American West. Three causes are often identified as key contributors to the wildfire problem: accumulated fuels on public lands due to a history of suppressing wildfires; climate change; and an influx of residents into fire prone areas referred to as the wildland-urban interface (WUI). The latter of these...
Hannah Brenkert-Smith; Patricia A. Champ; Amy L. Telligman
Wildfire activity continues to plague communities in the American West. Three causes are often identified as key contributors to the wildfire problem: accumulated fuels on public lands due to a history of suppressing wildfires; climate change; and an influx of residents into fire prone areas referred to as the wildland-urban interface (WUI). The latter of these...
More and more people are making their homes in woodland settings â in or near forests, rural areas, or remote mountain sites - areas in which wildfires are more likely to occur. Wildfires often begin unnoticed. They spread quickly, igniting brush, trees, and homes. CDC recommends taking steps before, during, and after local wildfires to reduce the effect they have on your life. Created: 11/1/2007 by Emergency Communications System. Date Released: 11/1/2007.
Thompson, M.; Calkin, D. E.; Hand, M. S.; Kreitler, J.
In this presentation we address federal wildfire risk management largely through the lens of economics, targeting questions related to costs, effectiveness, efficiency, and tradeoffs. Beyond risks to resources and assets such as wildlife habitat, watersheds, and homes, wildfires present financial risk and budgetary instability for federal wildfire management agencies due to highly variable annual suppression costs. Despite its variability, the costs of wildfire management have continued to escalate and account for an ever-growing share of overall agency budgets, compromising abilities to attain other objectives related to forest health, recreation, timber management, etc. Trends associated with a changing climate and human expansion into fire-prone areas could lead to additional suppression costs in the future, only further highlighting the need for an ability to evaluate economic tradeoffs in investments across the wildfire management spectrum. Critically, these economic analyses need to accurately capture the complex spatial and stochastic aspects of wildfire, the inherent uncertainty associated with monetizing environmental impacts of wildfire, the costs and effectiveness of alternative management policies, and linkages between pre-fire investments and active incident management. Investing in hazardous fuels reduction and forest restoration in particular is a major policy lever for pre-fire risk mitigation, and will be a primary focus of our presentation. Evaluating alternative fuel management and suppression policies could provide opportunities for significant efficiency improvements in the development of risk-informed management fire management strategies. Better understanding tradeoffs of fire impacts and costs can help inform policy questions such as how much of the landscape to treat and how to balance investments in treating new areas versus maintaining previous investments. We will summarize current data needs, knowledge gaps, and other factors
Vilar, Lara; Gómez, Israel; Martínez-Vega, Javier; Echavarría, Pilar; Riaño, David; Martín, M Pilar
The socio-economic factors are of key importance during all phases of wildfire management that include prevention, suppression and restoration. However, modeling these factors, at the proper spatial and temporal scale to understand fire regimes is still challenging. This study analyses socio-economic drivers of wildfire occurrence in central Spain. This site represents a good example of how human activities play a key role over wildfires in the European Mediterranean basin. Generalized Linear Models (GLM) and machine learning Maximum Entropy models (Maxent) predicted wildfire occurrence in the 1980s and also in the 2000s to identify changes between each period in the socio-economic drivers affecting wildfire occurrence. GLM base their estimation on wildfire presence-absence observations whereas Maxent on wildfire presence-only. According to indicators like sensitivity or commission error Maxent outperformed GLM in both periods. It achieved a sensitivity of 38.9% and a commission error of 43.9% for the 1980s, and 67.3% and 17.9% for the 2000s. Instead, GLM obtained 23.33, 64.97, 9.41 and 18.34%, respectively. However GLM performed steadier than Maxent in terms of the overall fit. Both models explained wildfires from predictors such as population density and Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), but differed in their relative contribution. As a result of the urban sprawl and an abandonment of rural areas, predictors like WUI and distance to roads increased their contribution to both models in the 2000s, whereas Forest-Grassland Interface (FGI) influence decreased. This study demonstrates that human component can be modelled with a spatio-temporal dimension to integrate it into wildfire risk assessment.
Russo, Ana; Gouveia, Célia M.; DaCamara, Carlos; Sousa, Pedro; Trigo, Ricardo M.
Southern European countries, and the Iberian Peninsula (IP) in particular, have been vastly affected by summer wildfires (Trigo et al., 2013). This condition is hampered by the frequent warm and dry meteorological conditions found in summer which play a significant role in the triggering and spreading of wildfires. These meteorological conditions are also particularly important for the onset and end of drought periods, a phenomenon that has recurrently affected the IP (Gouveia et al., 2012). Moreover, the IP corresponds to one of the most sensitive areas to current and future climate change, and recent and future trends towards a dryer and warmer Mediterranean climate (Sousa et al., 2014) will tend to exacerbate these problems. The main scope of this study was to investigate the impact of drought on wildfires' burned areas in the IP. The objective was to examine the correlation between drought, as expressed by both the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) (Vicente-Serrano et al., 2010), and wildfire burned areas. The SPI and SPEI were both calculated for 4 large regions (Northwestern, Northern, Southwestern and Eastern) whose spatial patterns and seasonal fire regimes were shown to be related with constraining factors such as topography, vegetation cover and climate conditions (Trigo et al., 2013). In this study, the drought indices were determined for the time scales of 3 and 6 months for August and for 12 months in September, thus representing the summer and annual drought. The correlation between drought and burned areas during July and August was particularly significant for the 3 months SPEI and SPI relatively to the 6 and 12 time scales, which indicates that drought and fires relation is a small-size scale process. Moreover, the correlation between drought and burned areas during July and August was particularly significant for the Northern and Southwestern regions both for SPEI for 3 and 6
Phillips, M.; Robinson, C.; Gupta, N.; Werth, D.
This report describes the development of a software tool, entitled “WildFire Ignition Resistance Estimator Wizard” (WildFIRE Wizard, Version 2.10). This software was developed within the Wildfire Ignition Resistant Home Design (WIRHD) program, sponsored by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate, Infrastructure Protection & Disaster Management Division. WildFIRE Wizard is a tool that enables homeowners to take preventive actions that will reduce their home’s vulnerability to wildfire ignition sources (i.e., embers, radiant heat, and direct flame impingement) well in advance of a wildfire event. This report describes the development of the software, its operation, its technical basis and calculations, and steps taken to verify its performance.
Matthew J. Wibbenmeyer; Michael S. Hand; David E. Calkin; Tyron J. Venn; Matthew P. Thompson
Federal policy has embraced risk management as an appropriate paradigm for wildfire management. Economic theory suggests that over repeated wildfire events, potential economic costs and risks of ecological damage are optimally balanced when management decisions are free from biases, risk aversion, and risk seeking. Of primary concern in this article is how managers...
Root, Heather T.; Brinda, John C.; Dodson, E. Kyle
Changing fire regimes in western North America may impact biological soil crust (BSC) communities that influence many ecosystem functions, such as soil stability and C and N cycling. However, longer-term effects of wildfire on BSC abundance, species richness, functional groups, and ecosystem functions after wildfire (i.e., BSC resilience) are still poorly understood. We sampled BSC lichen and bryophyte communities at four sites in Idaho, USA, within foothill steppe communities that included wildfires from 12 to 16 years old. We established six plots outside each burn perimeter and compared them with six plots of varying severity within each fire perimeter at each site. BSC cover was most strongly negatively impacted by wildfire at sites that had well-developed BSC communities in adjacent unburned plots. BSC species richness was estimated to be 65 % greater in unburned plots compared with burned plots, and fire effects did not vary among sites. In contrast, there was no evidence that vascular plant functional groups or fire severity (as measured by satellite metrics differenced normalized burn ratio (dNBR) or relativized differenced normalized burn ratio (RdNBR)) significantly affected longer-term BSC responses. Three large-statured BSC functional groups that may be important in controlling wind and water erosion (squamulose lichens, vagrant lichens, and tall turf mosses) exhibited a significant decrease in abundance in burned areas relative to adjacent unburned areas. The decreases in BSC cover and richness along with decreased abundance of several functional groups suggest that wildfire can negatively impact ecosystem function in these semiarid ecosystems for at least 1 to 2 decades. This is a concern given that increased fire frequency is predicted for the region due to exotic grass invasion and climate change.
Fischer, A. Paige; Spies, Thomas A; Steelman, Toddi A; Moseley, Cassandra; Johnson, Bart R.; Bailey, John D.; Ager, Alan A; Bourgeron, Patrick S.; Charnley, Susan; Collins, Brandon M.; Kline, Jeffrey D; Leahy, Jessica E; Littell, Jeremy; Millington, James D. A.; Nielsen-Pincus, Max; Olsen, Christine S; Paveglio, Travis B; Roos, Christopher I.; Steen-Adams, Michelle M; Stevens, Forrest R; Vukomanovic, Jelena; White, Eric M; Bowman, David M J S
Wildfire risk in temperate forests has become a nearly intractable problem that can be characterized as a socioecological “pathology”: that is, a set of complex and problematic interactions among social and ecological systems across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Assessments of wildfire risk could benefit from recognizing and accounting for these interactions in terms of socioecological systems, also known as coupled natural and human systems (CNHS). We characterize the primary social and ecological dimensions of the wildfire risk pathology, paying particular attention to the governance system around wildfire risk, and suggest strategies to mitigate the pathology through innovative planning approaches, analytical tools, and policies. We caution that even with a clear understanding of the problem and possible solutions, the system by which human actors govern fire-prone forests may evolve incrementally in imperfect ways and can be expected to resist change even as we learn better ways to manage CNHS.
Full Text Available Available data show that future changes in global change drivers may lead to an increasing impact of fires on terrestrial ecosystems worldwide. Yet, fire regime changes in highly humanised fire-prone regions are difficult to predict because fire effects may be heavily mediated by human activities We investigated the role of fire suppression strategies in synergy with climate change on the resulting fire regimes in Catalonia (north-eastern Spain. We used a spatially-explicit fire-succession model at the landscape level to test whether the use of different firefighting opportunities related to observed reductions in fire spread rates and effective fire sizes, and hence changes in the fire regime. We calibrated this model with data from a period with weak firefighting and later assess the potential for suppression strategies to modify fire regimes expected under different levels of climate change. When comparing simulations with observed fire statistics from an eleven-year period with firefighting strategies in place, our results showed that, at least in two of the three sub-regions analysed, the observed fire regime could not be reproduced unless taking into account the effects of fire suppression. Fire regime descriptors were highly dependent on climate change scenarios, with a general trend, under baseline scenarios without fire suppression, to large-scale increases in area burnt. Fire suppression strategies had a strong capacity to compensate for climate change effects. However, strong active fire suppression was necessary to accomplish such compensation, while more opportunistic fire suppression strategies derived from recent fire history only had a variable, but generally weak, potential for compensation of enhanced fire impacts under climate change. The concept of fire regime in the Mediterranean is probably better interpreted as a highly dynamic process in which the main determinants of fire are rapidly modified by changes in landscape
Brotons, Lluís; Aquilué, Núria; de Cáceres, Miquel; Fortin, Marie-Josée; Fall, Andrew
Available data show that future changes in global change drivers may lead to an increasing impact of fires on terrestrial ecosystems worldwide. Yet, fire regime changes in highly humanised fire-prone regions are difficult to predict because fire effects may be heavily mediated by human activities We investigated the role of fire suppression strategies in synergy with climate change on the resulting fire regimes in Catalonia (north-eastern Spain). We used a spatially-explicit fire-succession model at the landscape level to test whether the use of different firefighting opportunities related to observed reductions in fire spread rates and effective fire sizes, and hence changes in the fire regime. We calibrated this model with data from a period with weak firefighting and later assess the potential for suppression strategies to modify fire regimes expected under different levels of climate change. When comparing simulations with observed fire statistics from an eleven-year period with firefighting strategies in place, our results showed that, at least in two of the three sub-regions analysed, the observed fire regime could not be reproduced unless taking into account the effects of fire suppression. Fire regime descriptors were highly dependent on climate change scenarios, with a general trend, under baseline scenarios without fire suppression, to large-scale increases in area burnt. Fire suppression strategies had a strong capacity to compensate for climate change effects. However, strong active fire suppression was necessary to accomplish such compensation, while more opportunistic fire suppression strategies derived from recent fire history only had a variable, but generally weak, potential for compensation of enhanced fire impacts under climate change. The concept of fire regime in the Mediterranean is probably better interpreted as a highly dynamic process in which the main determinants of fire are rapidly modified by changes in landscape, climate and
Brotons, Lluís; Aquilué, Núria; de Cáceres, Miquel; Fortin, Marie-Josée; Fall, Andrew
Available data show that future changes in global change drivers may lead to an increasing impact of fires on terrestrial ecosystems worldwide. Yet, fire regime changes in highly humanised fire-prone regions are difficult to predict because fire effects may be heavily mediated by human activities We investigated the role of fire suppression strategies in synergy with climate change on the resulting fire regimes in Catalonia (north-eastern Spain). We used a spatially-explicit fire-succession model at the landscape level to test whether the use of different firefighting opportunities related to observed reductions in fire spread rates and effective fire sizes, and hence changes in the fire regime. We calibrated this model with data from a period with weak firefighting and later assess the potential for suppression strategies to modify fire regimes expected under different levels of climate change. When comparing simulations with observed fire statistics from an eleven-year period with firefighting strategies in place, our results showed that, at least in two of the three sub-regions analysed, the observed fire regime could not be reproduced unless taking into account the effects of fire suppression. Fire regime descriptors were highly dependent on climate change scenarios, with a general trend, under baseline scenarios without fire suppression, to large-scale increases in area burnt. Fire suppression strategies had a strong capacity to compensate for climate change effects. However, strong active fire suppression was necessary to accomplish such compensation, while more opportunistic fire suppression strategies derived from recent fire history only had a variable, but generally weak, potential for compensation of enhanced fire impacts under climate change. The concept of fire regime in the Mediterranean is probably better interpreted as a highly dynamic process in which the main determinants of fire are rapidly modified by changes in landscape, climate and
Coates, Peter S.; Ricca, Mark A.; Prochazka, Brian G.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Casazza, Michael L.
Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereinafter, sage-grouse) are a sagebrush obligate species that has declined concomitantly with the loss and fragmentation of sagebrush ecosystems across most of its geographical range. The species currently is listed as a candidate for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Increasing wildfire frequency and changing climate frequently are identified as two environmental drivers that contribute to the decline of sage-grouse populations, yet few studies have rigorously quantified their effects on sage-grouse populations across broad spatial scales and long time periods. To help inform a threat assessment within the Great Basin for listing sage-grouse in 2015 under the ESA, we conducted an extensive analysis of wildfire and climatic effects on sage-grouse population growth derived from 30 years of lek-count data collected across the hydrographic Great Basin of Western North America. Annual (1984–2013) patterns of wildfire were derived from an extensive dataset of remotely sensed 30-meter imagery and precipitation derived from locally downscaled spatially explicit data. In the sagebrush ecosystem, underlying soil conditions also contribute strongly to variation in resilience to disturbance and resistance to plant community changes (R&R). Thus, we developed predictions from models of post-wildfire recovery and chronic effects of wildfire based on three spatially explicit R&R classes derived from soil moisture and temperature regimes. We found evidence of an interaction between the effects of wildfire (chronically affected burned area within 5 kilometers of a lek) and climatic conditions (spring through fall precipitation) after accounting for a consistent density-dependent effect. Specifically, burned areas near leks nullifies population growth that normally follows years with relatively high precipitation. In models, this effect results in long-term population declines for sage-grouse despite cyclic
Richardson, L.A.; Champ, P.A.; Loomis, J.B.
There is a growing concern that human health impacts from exposure to wildfire smoke are ignored in estimates of monetized damages from wildfires. Current research highlights the need for better data collection and analysis of these impacts. Using unique primary data, this paper quantifies the economic cost of health effects from the largest wildfire in Los Angeles County's modern history. A cost of illness estimate is $9.50 per exposed person per day. However, theory and empirical research consistently find that this measure largely underestimates the true economic cost of health effects from exposure to a pollutant in that it ignores the cost of defensive actions taken as well as disutility. For the first time, the defensive behavior method is applied to calculate the willingness to pay for a reduction in one wildfire smoke induced symptom day, which is estimated to be $84.42 per exposed person per day. ?? 2011.
Westerling, A. L.; Fites, J. A.; Keyser, A.
Annual wildfire burned area in federally managed Sierra Nevada forests has increased by more than 10,000 ha per decade since the early 1970s. At the same time, recent years have seen some extremely large fires compared to the historical record, with significant areas of moderate to high severity fire (e.g., McNally 2002, Rim 2013, King 2014 fires). Changes to fuels and fire regimes due to fire suppression and land use, as well as warming temperatures and the occurrence of drought, are thought to be significant factors contributing to increased risks of large, severe fires in Sierra Nevada forests. Over 70% of the vegetated area in federally managed forests in the Sierra Nevada is classified as having altered fuels and fire regimes, while average annual temperature in the Sierra Nevada has been above the long term mean for all but four years in the past two decades. As climate is expected to continue warming for decades to come, we explored fuels management scenarios as the primary tools available to modify risks of large, severe wildfires. We developed experimental statistical models of fire occurrence, fire size, and high severity burned area, to explore the interaction between climate and altered fuels conditions. These models were applied to historical climate conditions, a sample of future climate projections, and to both current fuels conditions and a range of scenarios for fuels treatments. Emissions from wildfires were estimated using the Fire Inventory from the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Our models project that average annual burned area in the Sierra Nevada will more than double by mid-century. Similarly, particulate and other pollution emissions from Sierra Nevada wildfires are projected to more than double, even if future fire severity does not change. Fuels treatment scenarios significantly reduced simulated future burned area and emissions below untreated projections. High severity burned area responded to both climate and fuels
Ager, Alan A; Kline, Jeffrey D; Fischer, A Paige
We describe recent advances in biophysical and social aspects of risk and their potential combined contribution to improve mitigation planning on fire-prone landscapes. The methods and tools provide an improved method for defining the spatial extent of wildfire risk to communities compared to current planning processes. They also propose an expanded role for social science to improve understanding of community-wide risk perceptions and to predict property owners' capacities and willingness to mitigate risk by treating hazardous fuels and reducing the susceptibility of dwellings. In particular, we identify spatial scale mismatches in wildfire mitigation planning and their potential adverse impact on risk mitigation goals. Studies in other fire-prone regions suggest that these scale mismatches are widespread and contribute to continued wildfire dwelling losses. We discuss how risk perceptions and behavior contribute to scale mismatches and how they can be minimized through integrated analyses of landscape wildfire transmission and social factors that describe the potential for collaboration among landowners and land management agencies. These concepts are then used to outline an integrated socioecological planning framework to identify optimal strategies for local community risk mitigation and improve landscape-scale prioritization of fuel management investments by government entities. © 2015 Society for Risk Analysis.
H. T. Root
Full Text Available Changing fire regimes in western North America may impact biological soil crust (BSC communities that influence many ecosystem functions, such as soil stability and C and N cycling. However, longer-term effects of wildfire on BSC abundance, species richness, functional groups, and ecosystem functions after wildfire (i.e., BSC resilience are still poorly understood. We sampled BSC lichen and bryophyte communities at four sites in Idaho, USA, within foothill steppe communities that included wildfires from 12 to 16 years old. We established six plots outside each burn perimeter and compared them with six plots of varying severity within each fire perimeter at each site. BSC cover was most strongly negatively impacted by wildfire at sites that had well-developed BSC communities in adjacent unburned plots. BSC species richness was estimated to be 65 % greater in unburned plots compared with burned plots, and fire effects did not vary among sites. In contrast, there was no evidence that vascular plant functional groups or fire severity (as measured by satellite metrics differenced normalized burn ratio (dNBR or relativized differenced normalized burn ratio (RdNBR significantly affected longer-term BSC responses. Three large-statured BSC functional groups that may be important in controlling wind and water erosion (squamulose lichens, vagrant lichens, and tall turf mosses exhibited a significant decrease in abundance in burned areas relative to adjacent unburned areas. The decreases in BSC cover and richness along with decreased abundance of several functional groups suggest that wildfire can negatively impact ecosystem function in these semiarid ecosystems for at least 1 to 2 decades. This is a concern given that increased fire frequency is predicted for the region due to exotic grass invasion and climate change.
Sam C Banks
Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Big environmental disturbances have big ecological effects, yet these are not always what we might expect. Understanding the proximate effects of major disturbances, such as severe wildfires, on individuals, populations and habitats will be essential for understanding how predicted future increases in the frequency of such disturbances will affect ecosystems. However, researchers rarely have access to data from immediately before and after such events. Here we report on the effects of a severe and extensive forest wildfire on mortality, reproductive output and availability of key shelter resources for an arboreal marsupial. We also investigated the behavioural response of individuals to changed shelter resource availability in the post-fire environment. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We fitted proximity-logging radiotransmitters to mountain brushtail possums (Trichosurus cunninghami before, during and after the 2009 wildfires in Victoria, Australia. Surprisingly, we detected no mortality associated with the fire, and despite a significant post-fire decrease in the proportion of females carrying pouch young in the burnt area, there was no short-term post-fire population decline. The major consequence of this fire for mountain brushtail possums was the loss of over 80% of hollow-bearing trees. The types of trees preferred as shelter sites (highly decayed dead standing trees were those most likely to collapse after fire. Individuals adapted to resource decline by being more flexible in resource selection after the fire, but not by increased resource sharing. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Despite short-term demographic resilience and behavioural adaptation following this fire, the major loss of decayed hollow trees suggests the increased frequency of stand-replacing wildfires predicted under climate change will pose major challenges for shelter resource availability for hollow-dependent fauna. Hollow-bearing trees are typically biological
Banks, Sam C.; Knight, Emma J.; McBurney, Lachlan; Blair, David; Lindenmayer, David B.
Background Big environmental disturbances have big ecological effects, yet these are not always what we might expect. Understanding the proximate effects of major disturbances, such as severe wildfires, on individuals, populations and habitats will be essential for understanding how predicted future increases in the frequency of such disturbances will affect ecosystems. However, researchers rarely have access to data from immediately before and after such events. Here we report on the effects of a severe and extensive forest wildfire on mortality, reproductive output and availability of key shelter resources for an arboreal marsupial. We also investigated the behavioural response of individuals to changed shelter resource availability in the post-fire environment. Methodology/Principal Findings We fitted proximity-logging radiotransmitters to mountain brushtail possums (Trichosurus cunninghami) before, during and after the 2009 wildfires in Victoria, Australia. Surprisingly, we detected no mortality associated with the fire, and despite a significant post-fire decrease in the proportion of females carrying pouch young in the burnt area, there was no short-term post-fire population decline. The major consequence of this fire for mountain brushtail possums was the loss of over 80% of hollow-bearing trees. The types of trees preferred as shelter sites (highly decayed dead standing trees) were those most likely to collapse after fire. Individuals adapted to resource decline by being more flexible in resource selection after the fire, but not by increased resource sharing. Conclusions/Significance Despite short-term demographic resilience and behavioural adaptation following this fire, the major loss of decayed hollow trees suggests the increased frequency of stand-replacing wildfires predicted under climate change will pose major challenges for shelter resource availability for hollow-dependent fauna. Hollow-bearing trees are typically biological legacies of previous
D. T. Butry; J. P. Prestemon; K. L. Abt
Public outreach and wildfire education activities have been shown to limit the number of unintentional human-caused ignitions (i.e., 'accidental' wildfires). Such activities include the airing of public service announcements, visiting with homeowners in at-risk areas, distributing informative brochures and flyers, hosting of public forums (with presentations...
Hurteau, Matthew D
Climate projections for the southwestern US suggest a warmer, drier future and have the potential to impact forest carbon (C) sequestration and post-fire C recovery. Restoring forest structure and surface fire regimes initially decreases total ecosystem carbon (TEC), but can stabilize the remaining C by moderating wildfire behavior. Previous research has demonstrated that fire maintained forests can store more C over time than fire suppressed forests in the presence of wildfire. However, because the climate future is uncertain, I sought to determine the efficacy of forest management to moderate fire behavior and its effect on forest C dynamics under current and projected climate. I used the LANDIS-II model to simulate carbon dynamics under early (2010-2019), mid (2050-2059), and late (2090-2099) century climate projections for a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) dominated landscape in northern Arizona. I ran 100-year simulations with two different treatments (control, thin and burn) and a 1 in 50 chance of wildfire occurring. I found that control TEC had a consistent decline throughout the simulation period, regardless of climate. Thin and burn TEC increased following treatment implementation and showed more differentiation than the control in response to climate, with late-century climate having the lowest TEC. Treatment efficacy, as measured by mean fire severity, was not impacted by climate. Fire effects were evident in the cumulative net ecosystem exchange (NEE) for the different treatments. Over the simulation period, 32.8-48.9% of the control landscape was either C neutral or a C source to the atmosphere and greater than 90% of the thin and burn landscape was a moderate C sink. These results suggest that in southwestern ponderosa pine, restoring forest structure and surface fire regimes provides a reasonable hedge against the uncertainty of future climate change for maintaining the forest C sink.
Matthew D Hurteau
Full Text Available Climate projections for the southwestern US suggest a warmer, drier future and have the potential to impact forest carbon (C sequestration and post-fire C recovery. Restoring forest structure and surface fire regimes initially decreases total ecosystem carbon (TEC, but can stabilize the remaining C by moderating wildfire behavior. Previous research has demonstrated that fire maintained forests can store more C over time than fire suppressed forests in the presence of wildfire. However, because the climate future is uncertain, I sought to determine the efficacy of forest management to moderate fire behavior and its effect on forest C dynamics under current and projected climate. I used the LANDIS-II model to simulate carbon dynamics under early (2010-2019, mid (2050-2059, and late (2090-2099 century climate projections for a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa dominated landscape in northern Arizona. I ran 100-year simulations with two different treatments (control, thin and burn and a 1 in 50 chance of wildfire occurring. I found that control TEC had a consistent decline throughout the simulation period, regardless of climate. Thin and burn TEC increased following treatment implementation and showed more differentiation than the control in response to climate, with late-century climate having the lowest TEC. Treatment efficacy, as measured by mean fire severity, was not impacted by climate. Fire effects were evident in the cumulative net ecosystem exchange (NEE for the different treatments. Over the simulation period, 32.8-48.9% of the control landscape was either C neutral or a C source to the atmosphere and greater than 90% of the thin and burn landscape was a moderate C sink. These results suggest that in southwestern ponderosa pine, restoring forest structure and surface fire regimes provides a reasonable hedge against the uncertainty of future climate change for maintaining the forest C sink.
Stephen L. Sperry
Full Text Available Wildfire occurrence and intensity have increased over the last few decades and, at times, have been national news. Wildfire occurrence is somewhat predictable based on physical factors like meteorological conditions, fuel loads, and vegetation dynamics. Socioeconomic factors have been not been widely used in wildfire occurrence models. We used a geospatial (or geographical information system analysis approach to identify socioeconomic variables that contribute to wildfire occurrence. Key variables considered were population change, population density, poverty rate, educational level, geographic mobility, and road density (transportation network. Hot spot analysis was the primary research tool. Wildfire occurrence seemed to be positively related to low population densities, low levels of population change, high poverty rate, low educational attainment level, and low road density. Obviously, some of these variables are correlated and this is a complex problem. However, socioeconomic variables appeared to contribute to wildfire occurrence and should be considered in development of wildfire occurrence forecasting models.
Salis, Michele; Ager, Alan A.; Arca, Bachisio; Finney, Mark A.; Alcasena, Fermin; Bacciu, Valentina; Duce, Pierpaolo; Munoz Lozano, Olga; Spano, Donatella
We used simulation modeling based on the minimum travel time algorithm (MTT) to analyze wildfire exposure of key ecological, social and economic features on Sardinia, Italy. Sardinia is the second largest island of the Mediterranean Basin, and in the last fifty years experienced large and dramatic wildfires, which caused losses and threatened urban interfaces, forests and natural areas, and agricultural productions. Historical fires and environmental data for the period 1995-2009 were used as input to estimate fine scale burn probability, conditional flame length, and potential fire size in the study area. With this purpose, we simulated 100,000 wildfire events within the study area, randomly drawing from the observed frequency distribution of burn periods and wind directions for each fire. Estimates of burn probability, excluding non-burnable fuels, ranged from 0 to 1.92x10-3, with a mean value of 6.48x10-5. Overall, the outputs provided a quantitative assessment of wildfire exposure at the landscape scale and captured landscape properties of wildfire exposure. We then examined how the exposure profiles varied among and within selected features and assets located on the island. Spatial variation in modeled outputs resulted in a strong effect of fuel models, coupled with slope and weather. In particular, the combined effect of Mediterranean maquis, woodland areas and complex topography on flame length was relevant, mainly in north-east Sardinia, whereas areas with herbaceous fuels and flat areas were in general characterized by lower fire intensity but higher burn probability. The simulation modeling proposed in this work provides a quantitative approach to inform wildfire risk management activities, and represents one of the first applications of burn probability modeling to capture fire risk and exposure profiles in the Mediterranean basin.
Robert W. Gray; Susan J. Prichard
The incidence of large, costly landscape-scale fires in western North America is increasing. To combat these fires, researchers and managers have expressed increased interest in investigating the effectiveness of past, stand-replacing wildfires as bottom-up controls on fire spread and severity. Specifically, how effective are past wildfires in mitigating the behavior...
Examining Atmospheric and Ecological Drivers of Wildfires, Modeling Wildfire Occurrence in the Southwest United States, and Using Atmospheric Sounding Observations to Verify National Weather Service Spot Forecasts
Nauslar, Nicholas J.
This dissertation is comprised of three different papers that all pertain to wildland fire applications. The first paper performs a verification analysis on mixing height, transport winds, and Haines Index from National Weather Service spot forecasts across the United States. The final two papers, which are closely related, examine atmospheric and ecological drivers of wildfire for the Southwest Area (SWA) (Arizona, New Mexico, west Texas, and Oklahoma panhandle) to better equip operational fire meteorologists and managers to make informed decisions on wildfire potential in this region. The verification analysis here utilizes NWS spot forecasts of mixing height, transport winds and Haines Index from 2009-2013 issued for a location within 50 km of an upper sounding location and valid for the day of the fire event. Mixing height was calculated from the 0000 UTC sounding via the Stull, Holzworth, and Richardson methods. Transport wind speeds were determined by averaging the wind speed through the boundary layer as determined by the three mixing height methods from the 0000 UTC sounding. Haines Index was calculated at low, mid, and high elevation based on the elevation of the sounding and spot forecast locations. Mixing height forecasts exhibited large mean absolute errors and biased towards over forecasting. Forecasts of transport wind speeds and Haines Index outperformed mixing height forecasts with smaller errors relative to their respective means. The rainfall and lightning associated with the North American Monsoon (NAM) can vary greatly intra- and inter-annually and has a large impact on wildfire activity across the SWA by igniting or suppressing wildfires. NAM onset thresholds and subsequent dates are determined for the SWA and each Predictive Service Area (PSA), which are sub-regions used by operational fire meteorologists to predict wildfire potential within the SWA, April through September from 1995-2013. Various wildfire activity thresholds using the number
Brijesh Thapa; Ignatius Cahyanto; Stephen M. Holland; James D. Absher
The impacts of wildfires on tourism have largely been examined with emphasis on economic losses and recovery strategies. Given the limited research from a demand perspective, this study examined tourist risk perceptions and reactionary behaviors toward wildfires in Florida. Data (N Â¼ 771) was collected among a U.S. sample of non-resident overnight leisure travelers...
Tricia L. Wurtz; Amy L. Wiita; Nancy S. Weber; David Pilz
Morels are edible, choice wild mushrooms that sometimes fruit prolifically in the years immediately after an area has been burned by wildfire. Wildfires are common in interior Alaska; an average of 708,700 acres burned each year in interior Alaska between 1961 and 2000, and in major fire years, over 2 million acres burned. We discuss Alaska's boreal forest...
Salis, M.; Ager, A.; Arca, B.; Finney, M.; Bacciu, V. M.; Spano, D.; Duce, P.
Spatial and temporal patterns of fire spread and behavior are dependent on interactions among climate, topography, vegetation and fire suppression efforts (Pyne et al. 1996; Viegas 2006; Falk et al. 2007). Humans also play a key role in determining frequency and spatial distribution of ignitions (Bar Massada et al, 2011), and thus influence fire regimes as well. The growing incidence of catastrophic wildfires has led to substantial losses for important ecological and human values within many areas of the Mediterranean basin (Moreno et al. 1998; Mouillot et al. 2005; Viegas et al. 2006a; Riaño et al. 2007). The growing fire risk issue has led to many new programs and policies of fuel management and risk mitigation by environmental and fire agencies. However, risk-based methodologies to help identify areas characterized by high potential losses and prioritize fuel management have been lacking for the region. Formal risk assessment requires the joint consideration of likelihood, intensity, and susceptibility, the product of which estimates the chance of a specific loss (Brillinger 2003; Society of Risk Analysis, 2006). Quantifying fire risk therefore requires estimates of a) the probability of a specific location burning at a specific intensity and location, and b) the resulting change in financial or ecological value (Finney 2005; Scott 2006). When large fires are the primary cause of damage, the application of this risk formulation requires modeling fire spread to capture landscape properties that affect burn probability. Recently, the incorporation of large fire spread into risk assessment systems has become feasible with the development of high performance fire simulation systems (Finney et al. 2011) that permit the simulation of hundreds of thousands of fires to generate fine scale maps of burn probability, flame length, and fire size, while considering the combined effects of weather, fuels, and topography (Finney 2002; Andrews et al. 2007; Ager and Finney 2009
Joe Scott; Don Helmbrecht; Matthew P. Thompson; David E. Calkin; Kate Marcille
The occurrence of wildfires within municipal watersheds can result in significant impacts to water quality and ultimately human health and safety. In this paper, we illustrate the application of geospatial analysis and burn probability modeling to assess the exposure of municipal watersheds to wildfire. Our assessment of wildfire exposure consists of two primary...
Tarancón, Alicia Azpeleta; Fulé, Peter Z; Shive, Kristen L; Sieg, Carolyn H; Meador, Andrew Sánchez; Strom, Barbara
Post-fire predictions of forest recovery under future climate change and management actions are necessary for forest managers to make decisions about treatments. We applied the Climate-Forest Vegetation Simulator (Climate-FVS), a new version of a widely used forest management model, to compare alternative climate and management scenarios in a severely burned multispecies forest of Arizona, USA. The incorporation of seven combinations of General Circulation Models (GCM) and emissions scenarios altered long-term (100 years) predictions of future forest condition compared to a No Climate Change (NCC) scenario, which forecast a gradual increase to high levels of forest density and carbon stock. In contrast, emissions scenarios that included continued high greenhouse gas releases led to near-complete deforestation by 2111. GCM-emissions scenario combinations that were less severe reduced forest structure and carbon stock relative to NCC. Fuel reduction treatments that had been applied prior to the severe wildfire did have persistent effects, especially under NCC, but were overwhelmed by increasingly severe climate change. We tested six management strategies aimed at sustaining future forests: prescribed burning at 5, 10, or 20-year intervals, thinning 40% or 60% of stand basal area, and no treatment. Severe climate change led to deforestation under all management regimes, but important differences emerged under the moderate scenarios: treatments that included regular prescribed burning fostered low density, wildfire-resistant forests composed of the naturally dominant species, ponderosa pine. Non-fire treatments under moderate climate change were forecast to become dense and susceptible to severe wildfire, with a shift to dominance by sprouting species. Current U.S. forest management requires modeling of future scenarios but does not mandate consideration of climate change effects. However, this study showed substantial differences in model outputs depending on climate
M. Hurteau; M. North
Sequestered forest carbon can provide a climate change mitigation benefit, but in dry temperate forests, wildfire poses a reversal risk to carbon offset projects. Reducing wildfire risk requires a reduction in and redistribution of carbon stocks, the benefit of which is only realized when wildfire occurs. To estimate the time needed to recover carbon removed and...
Robyn S. Wilson; Sarah M. McCaffrey; Eric. Toman
Throughout the late 19th century and most of the 20th century, risks associated with wildfire were addressed by suppressing fires as quickly as possible. However, by the 1960s, it became clear that fire exclusion policies were having adverse effects on ecological health, as well as contributing to larger and more damaging wildfires over time. Although federal fire...
Yates, E. L.; Iraci, L. T.; Singh, H. B.; Ambrosia, V. G.; Clements, C. B.; Gore, W.; Lareau, N.; Quayle, B.; Ryoo, J. M.; Schroeder, W.; Tanaka, T.
Wildfire emissions are an important source of a wide range of trace gases and particles that can impact local, regional and global air quality, climate forcing, biogeochemical cycles and human health. In the western US, wildfires dominate over prescribed fires. However, limited sampling of wildfire emissions means western US emission estimates rely largely on data from prescribed fires, which may not be a suitable proxy for wildfire emissions. Further, interactions of wildfire emissions with urban pollution, commonly the case with California wildfires, are complex and poorly understood. The Alpha Jet Atmospheric eXperiment (AJAX) sampled a variety of Californian wildfire plumes during 2013 and 2014. In addition to wildfire plumes, flights sample upwind, background conditions allowing for an assessment of enhancement ratios of trace gas species (carbon dioxide, methane and ozone). This paper presents airborne measurements of multiple trace constituents downwind of a variety of Californian wildfires, with a focus on the exceptionally large Yosemite Rim wildfire during summer 2013. During its intense burning phases, the Rim wildfire was sampled by AJAX on 29 August as well as by the NASA DC-8, as part of its SEAC4RS mission, on 26 and 27 August. AJAX revisited the wildfire on 10 September when it had reached its smoldering phase. The more extensive payload of the DC-8 helped to bridge key measurements that were not available as part of the AJAX payload (e. g. carbon monoxide). The emission ratios (ER), emission factors (EF) and combustion efficiency are compared with previous wildfire studies. Integration of AJAX data with other available datasets, such as SEAC4RS, Lidar data from the California State University Mobile Atmospheric Profiling System (CSU-MAPS), MODIS/VIIRS Fire Radiative Power (FRP) and surface ozone and meteorology measurements is explored to assess the impacts of wildfires on downwind air quality including the densely populated California central
Pavlovic, Radenko; Chen, Jack; Munoz-Alpizar, Rodrigo; Davignon, Didier; Beaulieu, Paul-Andre; Landry, Hugo; Menard, Sylvain; Gravel, Sylvie; Moran, Michael
Environment and Climate Change Canada's air quality forecast system with near-real-time wildfire emissions, named FireWork, was developed in 2012 and has been run by the Canadian Meteorological Centre Operations division (CMCO) since 2013. In June 2016 this system was upgraded to operational status and wildfire smoke forecasts for North America are now available to the general public. FireWork's ability to model the transport and diffusion of wildfire smoke plumes has proved to be valuable to regional air quality forecasters and emergency first responders. Some of the most challenging issues with wildfire pollution modelling concern the production of wildfire emission estimates and near-source dispersion within the air quality model. As a consequence, FireWork is undergoing constant development. During the massive Fort McMurray wildfire event in western Canada in May 2016, for example, different wildfire emissions processing approaches and wildfire emissions injection and dispersion schemes were tested within the air quality model. Work on various FireWork components will continue in order to deliver a new operational version of the forecasting system for the 2017 wildfire season. Some of the proposed improvements will be shown in this presentation along with current and planned FireWork post-processing products.
Vega, S.; Pierson, F. B.; Williams, C. J.; Brooks, E. S.; Strand, E. K.; Seyfried, M. S.; Murdock, M.; Pierce, J. L.; Roehner, C.; Lindsay, K.; Robichaud, P. R.; Brown, R. E.
Across the western US, wildfires in sagebrush vegetation are occurring at a more frequent rate and higher severity. This has resulted in a decline of sagebrush rangeland. The changing fire regime can be attributed to invasive plant species and warming climate conditions. As the result of wildfire, protective vegetation cover is removed leaving the soil bare and exposed to erosion. Erosion following wildfire is a main concern among land managers due to the threat it poses to resources, infrastructure, and human health. Numerous studies have used artificial rainfall to assess post-fire runoff and erosion and rehabilitation treatment effectiveness. These results have found that high intensity rain events typical of summer convective storms drive post-fire erosion. The purpose of this study is to improve scientific understanding of how site-specific physical and biological attributes affect hillslope to watershed scale sediment yield on a mountainous burned sagebrush landscape. This study uses natural rainfall and a network of silt fences to quantify hillslope to watershed scale erosion response. The erosional drivers over various spatial scales were evaluated in context with vegetation recovery for a 2 year post-fire period. A network of silt fences was installed over long and short hillslope distances and in swales within the 130 ha Murphy Creek catchment in the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed in southwestern Idaho. We evaluated: 1) vegetation, soils, and sediment delivery across multiple spatial scales associated with 30 silt fences spanning north and south facing aspects, 2) precipitation input at two meteorological stations, and 3) watershed streamflow and sediment discharge from an existing weir. During the first and second year post-fire, the swales on both aspects produced more sediment than the short and long hillslopes. The results suggest that significant amounts of sediment and organic matter were deposited in the swales creating drifts. Sediment
Bradstock, R.; Price, O.; Williams, D.; Hutley, L.
Species of Eucalyptus and other closely related genera dominate woodlands and forests in the moist regions of tropical and temperate Australia. Respectively, these savanna woodlands and open forests are highly fire prone, though fire regimes are fundamentally different due to inherent influences of weather, fuels, ignitions and terrain. Fuel reduction via prescribed burning is commonly used in both savanna woodlands and temperate, open forests with the intention of reducing the incidence, extent and intensity of wildfires and subsequent risk to human and environmental assets. The prospect of mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from wildfires provides further impetus for extensive use of prescribed fire. This potential is dependent on a number of key factors, namely the efficacy of this fuel reduction technique and the relative difference in the intensity of prescribed fires and wildfires. We present a conceptual model of the potential for prescribed fire to mitigate emissions based on these key factors. Prescribed burning requires an outlay of emissions in return for a saving through a reduction in area burned and intensity of subsequent wildfires. If the reduction in area burned by wildfires, achieved through prescribed burning, is relatively small then the reduction in intensity of wildfires must be relatively large in order to achieve a net reduction in emissions. This is not the case if prescribed burning has a strong effect in reducing the size of wildfires. Contemporary data indicate that the effect of prescribed burning in reducing area burned by wildfires is high in savanna woodlands but relatively low in forests. Corresponding potential for mitigation of emissions is therefore high and low respectively. We tested this prediction for forests by estimating fire intensity and fuel consumption using a range of fuel accumulation models for south eastern Australian forests. The results indicate that at the level of effectiveness of prescribed fire achieved
Full Text Available Aim of study: In the Mediterranean, low timber-production forests are frequently thinned to promote biodiversity and reduce wildfire risk, but few studies in the region have addressed such goals. The aim of this research was to compare six thinning regimes applied to create a fuelbreak in a young Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill. planted forest.Area of study: A semiarid continental high plateau in south-eastern Spain.Material and Methods: Three thinning intensities (Light, Medium and Heavy were combined with two thinning methods: i Random (tree selection, and ii Regular (tree spacing. Tree growth and stand structure measurements were made four years following treatments.Main results: Heavy Random thinning successfully transformed the regular tree plantation pattern into a close-to-random spatial tree distribution. Heavy Regular thinning (followed by the Medium Regular and Heavy Random regimes significantly reduced growth in stand basal area and biomass. Individual tree growth, in contrast, was greater in Heavy and Medium thinnings than in Light ones, which were similar to the Control.Research highlights: Heavy Random thinning seemed the most appropriate in a youngAleppo pine planted forest to reduce fire risk and artificial tree distribution simultaneously. Light Regular thinning avoids understocking the stand and may be the most suitable treatment for creating a fuelbreak when the undergrowth poses a high fire risk.Keywords: Pinus halepensis; Mediterranean; Forest structure; Tree growth; Wildfire risk; Diversity.
Michael S. Hand; Matthew J. Wibbenmeyer; Dave Calkin; Matthew P. Thompson
Wildfires present a complex applied risk management environment, but relatively little attention has been paid to behavioral and cognitive responses to risk among public agency wildfire managers. This study investigates responses to risk, including probability weighting and risk aversion, in a wildfire management context using a survey-based experiment administered to...
Pereira, M. G.; Trigo, R. M.
Atmospheric circulation classifications are not a simple description of atmospheric states but a tool to understand and interpret the atmospheric processes and to model the relation between atmospheric circulation and surface climate and other related variables (Radan Huth et al., 2008). Classifications were initially developed with weather forecasting purposes, however with the progress in computer processing capability, new and more robust objective methods were developed and applied to large datasets prompting atmospheric circulation classification methods to one of the most important fields in synoptic and statistical climatology. Classification studies have been extensively used in climate change studies (e.g. reconstructed past climates, recent observed changes and future climates), in bioclimatological research (e.g. relating human mortality to climatic factors) and in a wide variety of synoptic climatological applications (e.g. comparison between datasets, air pollution, snow avalanches, wine quality, fish captures and forest fires). Likewise, atmospheric circulation classifications are important for the study of the role of weather in wildfire occurrence in Portugal because the daily synoptic variability is the most important driver of local weather conditions (Pereira et al., 2005). In particular, the objective classification scheme developed by Trigo and DaCamara (2000) to classify the atmospheric circulation affecting Portugal have proved to be quite useful in discriminating the occurrence and development of wildfires as well as the distribution over Portugal of surface climatic variables with impact in wildfire activity such as maximum and minimum temperature and precipitation. This work aims to present: (i) an overview the existing circulation classification for the Iberian Peninsula, and (ii) the results of a comparison study between these atmospheric circulation classifications based on its relation with wildfires and relevant meteorological
Kathy Lynn; Wendy Gerlitz
Wildfires and related government roles and responsibilities for federal wildland management are prominent in our national consciousness because of the increased severity in the last decade of fires on and around public lands. In recent years, laws, strategies, and implementation documents have been issued to direct federal efforts for wildfire prevention, firefighting...
Climate change is altering wildfire activity across Alaska, with increased area burned projected for the future. Changes in wildfire are expected to affect the need for management and suppression resources, however the potential economic implications of these needs have not been ...
The 2017 wildfire season has seen unusually high fire levels in many parts of the world, with extensive and severe fires occurring in Chile, the Mediterranean, Russia, the US, Canada and even Greenland. Is this a sign of things to come?
Salis, Michele; Ager, Alan A; Alcasena, Fermin J; Arca, Bachisio; Finney, Mark A; Pellizzaro, Grazia; Spano, Donatella
In this paper, we applied landscape scale wildfire simulation modeling to explore the spatiotemporal patterns of wildfire likelihood and intensity in the island of Sardinia (Italy). We also performed wildfire exposure analysis for selected highly valued resources on the island to identify areas characterized by high risk. We observed substantial variation in burn probability, fire size, and flame length among time periods within the fire season, which starts in early June and ends in late September. Peak burn probability and flame length were observed in late July. We found that patterns of wildfire likelihood and intensity were mainly related to spatiotemporal variation in ignition locations, fuel moisture, and wind vectors. Our modeling approach allowed consideration of historical patterns of winds, ignition locations, and live and dead fuel moisture on fire exposure factors. The methodology proposed can be useful for analyzing potential wildfire risk and effects at landscape scale, evaluating historical changes and future trends in wildfire exposure, as well as for addressing and informing fuel management and risk mitigation issues.
N. S. Wagenbrenner; M. J. Germino; B. K. Lamb; R. B. Foltz; P. R. Robichaud
Wind erosion and aeolian transport processes are largely unstudied in the post-wildfire environment, but recent studies have shown that wind erosion can play a major role in burned landscapes. A wind erosion monitoring system was installed immediately following a wildfire in southeastern Idaho, USA to measure wind erosion from the burned area (Figure 1). This paper...
Boisrame, G. F. S.; Thompson, S. E.; Stephens, S.; Collins, B.; Kelly, M.; Tague, N.
Fire suppression in many dry forest types has left a legacy of dense, homogeneous forests. Such landscapes have high water demands and fuel loads, and when burned can result in catastrophically large fires. These characteristics are undesirable in the face of projected warming and drying in the Western US. This project explores the potential of managed wildfire - a forest management strategy in which fires caused by lightning are allowed to burn naturally as long as certain safety parameters are met - to reverse the effects of fire suppression. The Illilouette Creek Basin in Yosemite National Park has experienced 40 years of managed wildfire, reducing forest cover and increasing meadow and shrubland areas. We have collected evidence from field measurements and remote sensing which suggest that managed wildfire increases landscape and hydrologic heterogeneity, and likely improves resilience to disturbances such as fire and drought. Vegetation maps created from aerial photos show an increase in landscape heterogeneity following the introduction of managed wildfire. Soil moisture observations during the drought years of 2013-2016 suggest that transitions from dense forest to shrublands or meadows can increase summer soil moisture. In the winter of 2015-2016, snow depth measurements showed deeper spring snowpacks in burned areas compared to dense forests. Our study provides a unique view of relatively long-term effects of managed wildfire on vegetation change, ecohydrology, and drought resistance. Understanding these effects is increasingly important as the use of managed wildfire becomes more widely accepted, and as the likelihood of both drought and wildfire increases.
Full Text Available Abstract Background We observe two trends in bioinformatics: (i analyses are increasing in complexity, often requiring several applications to be run as a workflow; and (ii multiple CPU clusters and Grids are available to more scientists. The traditional solution to the problem of running workflows across multiple CPUs required programming, often in a scripting language such as perl. Programming places such solutions beyond the reach of many bioinformatics consumers. Results We present Wildfire, a graphical user interface for constructing and running workflows. Wildfire borrows user interface features from Jemboss and adds a drag-and-drop interface allowing the user to compose EMBOSS (and other programs into workflows. For execution, Wildfire uses GEL, the underlying workflow execution engine, which can exploit available parallelism on multiple CPU machines including Beowulf-class clusters and Grids. Conclusion Wildfire simplifies the tasks of constructing and executing bioinformatics workflows.
Skinner, C. B.; Poulsen, C. J.
While wildfires are a key component of natural ecological restoration and succession, they also pose tremendous risks to human life, health, and property. Wildfire frequency is expected to increase in many regions as the radiative effects of elevated CO2 drive warmer surface air temperatures, earlier spring snow melt, and more frequent meteorological drought. However, high CO2 concentrations will also directly impact vegetation growth and physiology, potentially altering wildfire characteristics through changes in fuel amount and surface hydrology. Depending on the biome and time of year, these vegetation-driven responses may mitigate or enhance radiative-driven wildfire changes. In this study, we use a suite of earth system models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 with active biogeophysics and biogeochemistry to understand how the vegetation response to high CO2 (CO2 quadrupling) contributes to future changes in wildfire risk across the globe. Across the models, projected CO2 fertilization enhances aboveground biomass (about a 30% leaf area index (LAI) increase averaged across the globe) during the spring and summer months, increasing the availability of wildfire fuel across all biomes. Despite greater LAI, models robustly project widespread reductions in summer season transpiration (about -15% averaged across the globe) in response to reduced stomatal conductance from CO2 physiological forcing. Reduced transpiration warms summer season near surface temperatures and lowers relative humidity across vegetated regions of the mid-to-high latitudes, heightening the risk of wildfire occurrence. However, as transpiration goes down in response to greater plant water use efficiency, a larger fraction of soil water remains in the soil, potentially halting the spread of wildfires in some regions. Given the myriad ways in which the vegetation response to CO2 may alter wildfire risk, and the robustness of the responses across models, an explicit simulation of
Zhong, Xu; Duckham, Matt; Chong, Derek; Tolhurst, Kevin
Real-time information about the spatial extents of evolving natural disasters, such as wildfire or flood perimeters, can assist both emergency responders and the general public during an emergency. However, authoritative information sources can suffer from bottlenecks and delays, while user-generated social media data usually lacks the necessary structure and trustworthiness for reliable automated processing. This paper describes and evaluates an automated technique for real-time tracking of wildfire perimeters based on publicly available “curated” crowdsourced data about telephone calls to the emergency services. Our technique is based on established data mining tools, and can be adjusted using a small number of intuitive parameters. Experiments using data from the devastating Black Saturday wildfires (2009) in Victoria, Australia, demonstrate the potential for the technique to detect and track wildfire perimeters automatically, in real time, and with moderate accuracy. Accuracy can be further increased through combination with other authoritative demographic and environmental information, such as population density and dynamic wind fields. These results are also independently validated against data from the more recent 2014 Mickleham-Dalrymple wildfires.
Fox-Gliessman, D.; Kerski, J.J.
Various technologies that can assist students in exploring the human and environmental impacts of wildfire and in communicating their findings are discussed. Wildfires occur in many parts of the world, and provide an excellent opportunity for students to study local and global interdisciplinary issues using technology. Prior to the beginning of the field study, students take instructions in both their math and science classes about the distinction and appropriate uses of quantitative and qualitative data. Use of computer programs such as Excel spreadsheets which can contain data, and interaction of research and technology group with students, can help them collect best of the information and in making an accurate report.
Liu, Xiaoxi [School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Georgia USA; Now at Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Colorado USA; Now at Department of Chemistry, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Colorado USA; Huey, L. Gregory [School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Georgia USA; Yokelson, Robert J. [Department of Chemistry, University of Montana, Missoula Montana USA; Selimovic, Vanessa [Department of Chemistry, University of Montana, Missoula Montana USA; Simpson, Isobel J. [Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine California USA; Müller, Markus [Department of Chemistry, University of Montana, Missoula Montana USA; Institute for Ion Physics and Applied Physics, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck Austria; Jimenez, Jose L. [Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Colorado USA; Department of Chemistry, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Colorado USA; Campuzano-Jost, Pedro [Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Colorado USA; Department of Chemistry, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Colorado USA; Beyersdorf, Andreas J. [NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton Virginia USA; Now at Department of Chemistry, California State University, San Bernardino California USA; Blake, Donald R. [Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine California USA; Butterfield, Zachary [Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos New Mexico USA; Now at Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Michigan USA; Choi, Yonghoon [NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton Virginia USA; Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Hampton Virginia USA; Crounse, John D. [Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena California USA; Day, Douglas A. [Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Colorado USA; Department of Chemistry, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Colorado USA; Diskin, Glenn S. [NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton Virginia USA; Dubey, Manvendra K. [Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos New Mexico USA; Fortner, Edward [Center for Aerosol and Cloud Chemistry, Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica Massachusetts USA; Hanisco, Thomas F. [Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt Maryland USA; Hu, Weiwei [Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Colorado USA; Department of Chemistry, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Colorado USA; King, Laura E. [School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Georgia USA; Kleinman, Lawrence [Environmental and Climate Sciences Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton New York USA; Meinardi, Simone [Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine California USA; Mikoviny, Tomas [Department of Chemistry, University of Oslo, Oslo Norway; Onasch, Timothy B. [Center for Aerosol and Cloud Chemistry, Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica Massachusetts USA; Palm, Brett B. [Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Colorado USA; Department of Chemistry, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Colorado USA; Peischl, Jeff [Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Colorado USA; Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder Colorado USA; Pollack, Ilana B. [Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Colorado USA; Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder Colorado USA; Now at Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins Colorado USA; Ryerson, Thomas B. [Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder Colorado USA; Sachse, Glen W. [NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton Virginia USA; Sedlacek, Arthur J. [Environmental and Climate Sciences Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton New York USA; Shilling, John E. [Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland Washington USA; Springston, Stephen [Environmental and Climate Sciences Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton New York USA; St. Clair, Jason M. [Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena California USA; Now at Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt Maryland USA; Now at Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore Maryland USA; Tanner, David J. [School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Georgia USA; Teng, Alexander P. [Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena California USA; Wennberg, Paul O. [Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena California USA; Division of Engineering and Applied Science, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena California USA; Wisthaler, Armin [Institute for Ion Physics and Applied Physics, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck Austria; Department of Chemistry, University of Oslo, Oslo Norway; Wolfe, Glenn M. [Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt Maryland USA; Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore Maryland USA
Wildfires emit significant amounts of pollutants that degrade air quality. Plumes from three wildfires in the western U.S. were measured from aircraft during the Studies of Emissions and Atmospheric Composition, Clouds, and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RS) and the Biomass Burning Observation Project (BBOP), both in summer 2013. This study reports an extensive set of emission factors (EFs) for over 80 gases and 5 components of submicron particulate matter (PM1) from these temperate wildfires. These include rarely, or never before, measured oxygenated volatile organic compounds and multifunctional organic nitrates. The observed EFs are compared with previous measurements of temperate wildfires, boreal forest fires, and temperate prescribed fires. The wildfires emitted high amounts of PM1 (with organic aerosol (OA) dominating the mass) with an average EF that is more than two times the EFs for prescribed fires. The measured EFs were used to estimate the annual wildfire emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, total nonmethane organic compounds, and PM1 from 11 western U.S. states. The estimated gas emissions are generally comparable with the 2011 National Emissions Inventory (NEI). However, our PM1 emission estimate (1530 ± 570 Gg yr-1) is over three times that of the NEI PM2.5 estimate and is also higher than the PM2.5 emitted from all other sources in these states in the NEI. This study indicates that the source of OA from BB in the western states is significantly underestimated. In addition, our results indicate prescribed burning may be an effective method to reduce fine particle emissions.
Concerned about the rising costs of preparing for and controlling wildfires, you asked us to provide information on how the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management manage their wildfire programs...
Nieradzik, Lars Peter; Haverd, Vanessa; Briggs, Peter; Canadell, Josep G.; Smith, Ben
Wildfires and their emissions are key biospheric processes in the modeling of the carbon cycle that still are insufficiently understood. In Australia, fire emissions constitute a large flux of carbon from the biosphere to the atmosphere of approximately 1.3 times larger than the annual fossil fuel emissions. In addition, fire plays a big role in determining the composition of vegetation which in turn affects land-atmosphere fluxes. Annualy, up to 4% of the vegetated land-surface area is burned which amounts to up to 3% of global NPP and results in the reslease of about 2 Pg carbon into the atmosphere. There are indications that burned area has decreased globally over recent decades but so far there is not a clear trend in the development in fire-intensity and fuel availability. Net emissions from wildfires are not generally included in global and regional carbon budgets, because it is assumed that gross fire emissions are in balance with post-fire carbon uptake by recovering vegetation. This is a valid assumption as long as climate and fire regimes are in equilibrium, but not when the climate and other drivers are changing. We present a study on the behaviour of wildfires on the Australian continent over the last century (1911 - 2012) introducing the novel fire model BLAZE (BLAZe induced biosphere-atmosphere flux Estimator) that has been designed to address the feedbacks between climate, fuel loads, and fires. BLAZE is used within the Australian land-surface model CABLE (Community Atmophere-Biosphere-Land Exchange model). The study shows two significant outcomes: A regional shift in fire patterns shift during this century due to fire suppression and greening effects as well as an increase of potential fire-line intensity (the risk that a fire becomes more intense), especially in regions where most of Australia's population resides. This strongly emphasises the need to further investigate fire dynamics under future climate scenarios. The fire model BLAZE has been
Knorr, Wolfgang; Dentener, Frank; Lamarque, Jean-François; Jiang, Leiwen; Arneth, Almut
Wildfires pose a significant risk to human livelihoods and are a substantial health hazard due to emissions of toxic smoke. Previous studies have shown that climate change, increasing atmospheric CO2, and human demographic dynamics can lead to substantially altered wildfire risk in the future, with fire activity increasing in some regions and decreasing in others. The present study re-examines these results from the perspective of air pollution risk, focussing on emissions of airborne particulate matter (PM2. 5), combining an existing ensemble of simulations using a coupled fire-dynamic vegetation model with current observation-based estimates of wildfire emissions and simulations with a chemical transport model. Currently, wildfire PM2. 5 emissions exceed those from anthropogenic sources in large parts of the world. We further analyse two extreme sets of future wildfire emissions in a socio-economic, demographic climate change context and compare them to anthropogenic emission scenarios reflecting current and ambitious air pollution legislation. In most regions of the world, ambitious reductions of anthropogenic air pollutant emissions have the potential to limit mean annual pollutant PM2. 5 levels to comply with World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines for PM2. 5. Worst-case future wildfire emissions are not likely to interfere with these annual goals, largely due to fire seasonality, as well as a tendency of wildfire sources to be situated in areas of intermediate population density, as opposed to anthropogenic sources that tend to be highest at the highest population densities. However, during the high-fire season, we find many regions where future PM2. 5 pollution levels can reach dangerous levels even for a scenario of aggressive reduction of anthropogenic emissions.
Stevens-Rumann, Camille; Morgan, Penelope
Most models project warmer and drier climates that will contribute to larger and more frequent wildfires. However, it remains unknown how repeated wildfires alter post-fire successional patterns and forest structure. Here, we test the hypothesis that the number of wildfires, as well as the order and severity of wildfire events interact to alter forest structure and vegetation recovery and implications for vegetation management. In 2014, we examined forest structure, composition, and tree regeneration in stands that burned 1-18 yr before a subsequent 2007 wildfire. Three important findings emerged: (1) Repeatedly burned forests had 15% less woody surface fuels and 31% lower tree seedling densities compared with forests that only experienced one recent wildfire. These repeatedly burned areas are recovering differently than sites burned once, which may lead to alternative ecosystem structure. (2) Order of burn severity (high followed by low severity compared with low followed by high severity) did influence forest characteristics. When low burn severity followed high, forests had 60% lower canopy closure and total basal area with 92% fewer tree seedlings than when high burn severity followed low. (3) Time between fires had no effect on most variables measured following the second fire except large woody fuels, canopy closure and tree seedling density. We conclude that repeatedly burned areas meet many vegetation management objectives of reduced fuel loads and moderate tree seedling densities. These differences in forest structure, composition, and tree regeneration have implications not only for the trajectories of these forests, but may reduce fire intensity and burn severity of subsequent wildfires and may be used in conjunction with future fire suppression tactics. © 2016 by the Ecological Society of America.
Lozano, Olga M; Salis, Michele; Ager, Alan A; Arca, Bachisio; Alcasena, Fermin J; Monteiro, Antonio T; Finney, Mark A; Del Giudice, Liliana; Scoccimarro, Enrico; Spano, Donatella
We used simulation modeling to assess potential climate change impacts on wildfire exposure in Italy and Corsica (France). Weather data were obtained from a regional climate model for the period 1981-2070 using the IPCC A1B emissions scenario. Wildfire simulations were performed with the minimum travel time fire spread algorithm using predicted fuel moisture, wind speed, and wind direction to simulate expected changes in weather for three climatic periods (1981-2010, 2011-2040, and 2041-2070). Overall, the wildfire simulations showed very slight changes in flame length, while other outputs such as burn probability and fire size increased significantly in the second future period (2041-2070), especially in the southern portion of the study area. The projected changes fuel moisture could result in a lengthening of the fire season for the entire study area. This work represents the first application in Europe of a methodology based on high resolution (250 m) landscape wildfire modeling to assess potential impacts of climate changes on wildfire exposure at a national scale. The findings can provide information and support in wildfire management planning and fire risk mitigation activities. © 2016 Society for Risk Analysis.
S. M. Stein; J. Menakis; M. A. Carr; S. J. Comas; S. I. Stewart; H. Cleveland; L. Bramwell; V. C. Radeloff
Fire has historically played a fundamental ecological role in many of America's wildland areas. However, the rising number of homes in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), associated impacts on lives and property from wildfire, and escalating costs of wildfire management have led to an urgent need for communities to become "fire-adapted." We present maps...
David Calkin; Kevin Hyde; Krista Gebert; Greg Jones
Determining the economic effectiveness of wildfire suppression activities is complicated by difficulties in identifying the area that would have burned and the associated resource value changes had suppression resources not been employed. We developed a case study using break-even analysis for two large wildfires from the 2003 fire season in western Montana -- the...
G.H. Donovan; P.A. Champ; D.T. Butry
We examine an innovative wildfire risk education program in Colorado Springs, which rated the wildfire risk of 35,000 homes in the city's wildland urban interface. Evidence from home sales before and after the program's implementation suggests that the program was successful at changing homebuyers' attitudes toward wildfire risk, particularly preferences...
Donald McKenzie; Nancy H.F. French; Roger D. Ottmar
Wildfires are increasingly emerging as an important component of Earth system models, particularly those that involve emissions from fires and their effects on climate. Currently, there are few resources available for estimating emissions from wildfires in real time, at subcontinental scales, in a spatially consistent manner. Developing subcontinental-scale databases...
Liu, Xiaoxi; University of Colorado, Boulder, CO; Huey, L. Gregory; Yokelson, Robert J.; Selimovic, Vanessa
Wildfires emit significant amounts of pollutants that degrade air quality. Plumes from three wildfires in the western U.S. were measured from aircraft during the Studies of Emissions and Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RS) and the Biomass Burning Observation Project (BBOP), both in summer 2013. This study reports an extensive set of emission factors (EFs) for over 80 gases and 5 components of submicron particulate matter (PM 1 ) from these temperate wildfires. These include rarely, or never before, measured oxygenated volatile organic compounds and multifunctional organic nitrates. The observed EFs are compared with previous measurements of temperate wildfires, boreal forest fires, and temperate prescribed fires. Furthermore, the wildfires emitted high amounts of PM 1 (with organic aerosol (OA) dominating the mass) with an average EF that is more than 2 times the EFs for prescribed fires. The measured EFs were used to estimate the annual wildfire emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, total nonmethane organic compounds, and PM 1 from 11 western U.S. states. The estimated gas emissions are generally comparable with the 2011 National Emissions Inventory (NEI). However, our PM 1 emission estimate (1530 ± 570 Gg yr -1 ) is over 3 times that of the NEI PM2.5 estimate and is also higher than the PM2.5 emitted from all other sources in these states in the NEI. This study indicates that the source of OA from biomass burning in the western states is significantly underestimated. Additionally, our results indicate that prescribed burning may be an effective method to reduce fine particle emissions.
Heidi L. Ballard; Emily Evans; Victoria E. Sturtevant; Pamela. Jakes
Many environmental education programs in the United States educate youth about the prevention of wildfire and its role in ecosystems.We reviewed 50 wildfire education programs for youth (WEY) in the U.S. through an Internet search and interviews with program providers. We investigated whether they reflect current wildfire science, environmental education (EE)...
Ager, Alan A; Buonopane, Michelle; Reger, Allison; Finney, Mark A
We analyzed wildfire exposure for key social and ecological features on the national forests in Oregon and Washington. The forests contain numerous urban interfaces, old growth forests, recreational sites, and habitat for rare and endangered species. Many of these resources are threatened by wildfire, especially in the east Cascade Mountains fire-prone forests. The study illustrates the application of wildfire simulation for risk assessment where the major threat is from large and rare naturally ignited fires, versus many previous studies that have focused on risk driven by frequent and small fires from anthropogenic ignitions. Wildfire simulation modeling was used to characterize potential wildfire behavior in terms of annual burn probability and flame length. Spatial data on selected social and ecological features were obtained from Forest Service GIS databases and elsewhere. The potential wildfire behavior was then summarized for each spatial location of each resource. The analysis suggested strong spatial variation in both burn probability and conditional flame length for many of the features examined, including biodiversity, urban interfaces, and infrastructure. We propose that the spatial patterns in modeled wildfire behavior could be used to improve existing prioritization of fuel management and wildfire preparedness activities within the Pacific Northwest region. © 2012 Society for Risk Analysis.
Thomas P. Holmes; Karen L. Abt; Robert Huggett; Jeffrey P. Prestemon
Natural resource economists have addresssed the economic effienciency of expenditures on wildfire mitigation for nearly a century (Gope and Gorte 1979). Beginning with the work of Sparhawk (1925), the theory of efficent wildfire mitigation developed alolng conceptual lines drawn form neoclassical economics. The objective of the traditional least-cost-plus-loss model...
A. Paige Fischer; Thomas A Spies; Toddi A Steelman; Cassandra Moseley; Bart R Johnson; John D Bailey; Alan A Ager; Patrick Bourgeron; Susan Charnley; Brandon M Collins; Jeffrey D Kline; Jessica E Leahy; Jeremy S Littell; James DA Millington; Max Nielsen-Pincus; Christine S Olsen; Travis B Paveglio; Christopher I Roos; Michelle M Steen-Adams; Forrest R Stevens; Jelena Vukomanovic; Eric M White; David M. J. S. Bowman
Despite dramatic increases in suppression spending, the risk of life and property loss associated with wildfire has continued to rise in recent decades. Economic losses from wildfires have doubled in the United States and suppression expenses have tripled between 2002 and 2012 compared to the decade prior. Loss of property to wildfire has outpaced efforts to reduce...
De Sales, Fernando; Okin, Gregory S.; Xue, Yongkang; Dintwe, Kebonye
This study investigates the impact of wildfire on the climate of Southern Africa. Moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer derived burned area fraction data was implemented in a set of simulations to assess primarily the role of wildfire-induced surface changes on monthly precipitation. Two post-fire scenarios are examined namely non-recovering and recovering vegetation scenarios. In the former, burned vegetation fraction remains burned until the end of the simulations, whereas in the latter it is allowed to regrow following a recovery period. Control simulations revealed that the model can dependably capture the monthly precipitation and surface temperature averages in Southern Africa thus providing a reasonable basis against which to assess the impacts of wildfire. In general, both wildfire scenarios have a negative impact on springtime precipitation. September and October were the only months with statistically significant precipitation changes. During these months, precipitation in the region decreases by approximately 13 and 9% in the non-recovering vegetation scenario, and by about 10 and 6% in the recovering vegetation wildfire scenario, respectively. The primary cause of precipitation deficit is the decrease in evapotranspiration resulting from a reduction in surface net radiation. Areas impacted by the precipitation reduction includes the Luanda, Kinshasa, and Brazzaville metropolitan areas, The Angolan Highlands, which are the source of the Okavango Rive, and the Okavango Delta region. This study suggests that a probable intensification in wildfire frequency and extent resulting from projected population increase and global warming in Southern Africa could potentially exacerbate the impacts of wildfires in the region's seasonal precipitation.
Liu, Jia Coco; Mickley, Loretta J; Sulprizio, Melissa P; Dominici, Francesca; Yue, Xu; Ebisu, Keita; Anderson, Georgiana Brooke; Khan, Rafi F A; Bravo, Mercedes A; Bell, Michelle L
Wildfire can impose a direct impact on human health under climate change. While the potential impacts of climate change on wildfires and resulting air pollution have been studied, it is not known who will be most affected by the growing threat of wildfires. Identifying communities that will be most affected will inform development of fire management strategies and disaster preparedness programs. We estimate levels of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5 ) directly attributable to wildfires in 561 western US counties during fire seasons for the present-day (2004-2009) and future (2046-2051), using a fire prediction model and GEOS-Chem, a 3-D global chemical transport model. Future estimates are obtained under a scenario of moderately increasing greenhouse gases by mid-century. We create a new term "Smoke Wave," defined as ≥2 consecutive days with high wildfire-specific PM 2.5 , to describe episodes of high air pollution from wildfires. We develop an interactive map to demonstrate the counties likely to suffer from future high wildfire pollution events. For 2004-2009, on days exceeding regulatory PM 2.5 standards, wildfires contributed an average of 71.3% of total PM 2.5 . Under future climate change, we estimate that more than 82 million individuals will experience a 57% and 31% increase in the frequency and intensity, respectively, of Smoke Waves. Northern California, Western Oregon and the Great Plains are likely to suffer the highest exposure to widlfire smoke in the future. Results point to the potential health impacts of increasing wildfire activity on large numbers of people in a warming climate and the need to establish or modify US wildfire management and evacuation programs in high-risk regions. The study also adds to the growing literature arguing that extreme events in a changing climate could have significant consequences for human health.
Hudiburg, Tara W.; Higuera, Philip E.; Hicke, Jeffrey A.
Wildfire is a dominant disturbance agent in forest ecosystems, shaping important biogeochemical processes including net carbon (C) balance. Long-term monitoring and chronosequence studies highlight a resilience of biogeochemical properties to large, stand-replacing, high-severity fire events. In contrast, the consequences of repeated fires or temporal variability in a fire regime (e.g., the characteristic timing or severity of fire) are largely unknown, yet theory suggests that such variability could strongly influence forest C trajectories (i.e., future states or directions) for millennia. Here we combine a 4500-year paleoecological record of fire activity with ecosystem modeling to investigate how fire-regime variability impacts soil C and net ecosystem carbon balance. We found that C trajectories in a paleo-informed scenario differed significantly from an equilibrium scenario (with a constant fire return interval), largely due to variability in the timing and severity of past fires. Paleo-informed scenarios contained multi-century periods of positive and negative net ecosystem C balance, with magnitudes significantly larger than observed under the equilibrium scenario. Further, this variability created legacies in soil C trajectories that lasted for millennia. Our results imply that fire-regime variability is a major driver of C trajectories in stand-replacing fire regimes. Predicting carbon balance in these systems, therefore, will depend strongly on the ability of ecosystem models to represent a realistic range of fire-regime variability over the past several centuries to millennia.
Marques, S.; Garcia-Gonzalo, J.; Botequim, B.; Ricardo, A.; Borges, J. G.; Tome, M.; Oliveira, M. M.
Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.) is an important conifer from the western Mediterranean Basin extending over 22% of the forest area in Portugal. In the last three decades nearly 4% of Maritime pine area has been burned by wildfires. Yet no wildfire occurrence probability models are available and forest and fire management planning activities are thus carried out mostly independently of each other. This paper presents research to address this gap. Specifically, it presents a model to assess wildfire occurrence probability in regular and pure Maritime pine stands in Portugal. Emphasis was in developing a model based on easily available inventory data so that it might be useful to forest managers. For that purpose, data from the last two Portuguese National Forest Inventories (NFI) and data from wildfire perimeters in the years from 1998 to 2004 and from 2006 to 2007 were used. A binary logistic regression model was build using biometrics data from the NFI. Biometric data included indicators that might be changed by operations prescribed in forest planning. Results showed that the probability of wildfire occurrence in a stand increases in stand located at steeper slopes and with high shrubs load while it decreases with precipitation and with stand basal area. These results are instrumental for assessing the impact of forest management options on wildfire probability thus helping forest managers to reduce the risk of wildfires. (Author) 57 refs.
Caon, L.; Vallejo, V.R.; Ritsema, C.J.; Geissen, V.
High-intensity and fast-spreading wildfires are natural in the Mediterranean basin. However, since 1960, wildfire occurrence has increased because of changes in land use, which resulted in extensive land abandonment, increases in the fuel load and continuity in the landscape. The level of soil
Shakesby, R. A.
Wildfires increased dramatically in frequency and extent in the European Mediterranean region from the 1960s, aided by a general warming and drying trend, but driven primarily by socio-economic changes, including rural depopulation, land abandonment and afforestation with flammable species. Published research into post-wildfire hydrology and soil erosion, beginning during the 1980s in Spain, has been followed by studies in other European Mediterranean countries together with Israel and has now attained a sufficiently large critical mass to warrant a major review. Although variations in climate, vegetation, soil, topography and fire severity cause differences in Mediterranean post-wildfire erosion, the long history of human landscape impact up to the present day is responsible for some its distinctive characteristics. This paper highlights these characteristics in reviewing wildfire impacts on hydrology, soil properties and soil erosion by water. The 'mosaic' nature of many Mediterranean landscapes (e.g. an intricate land-use pattern, abandoned terraces and tracks interrupting slopes) may explain sometimes conflicting post-fire hydrological and erosional responses at different sites and spatial scales. First-year post-wildfire soil losses at point- (average, 45-56 t ha - 1 ) and plot-scales (many Aspect is important, with more erosion reported for south- than north-facing slopes, which is attributed to greater fire frequency, slower vegetation recovery on the former and with soil characteristics more prone to erosion (e.g. lower aggregate stability). Post-fire wind erosion is a potentially important but largely neglected process. Gauging the degradational significance of wildfires has relied on comparison with unburnt land, but the focus for comparison should be switched to other agents of soil disturbance and/or currently poorly understood soil renewal rates. Human impact on land use and vegetation may alter expected effects (increased fire activity and post-wildfire
Patricia Andrews; Mark Finney; Mark Fischetti
The number of catastrophic wildfires in the U.S. has been steadily rising. The nation has spent more than $1 billion annually to suppress such fires in eight of the past 10 years. In 2005 a record 8.7 million acres burned, only to be succeeded by 9.9 million acres in 2006. And this year is off to a furious start. To a great extent, the increase in fires stems from a...
Bastos, A.; Gouveia, C. M.; Trigo, R. M.; DaCamara, C. C.
Mediterranean ecosystems have evolved along with fire, adapting to quick recovering following wildfire events. However, vegetation species respond differently to the changes in fire regimes that have been observed in the past decades in the Mediterranean. These changes, which occurred mainly due to socio-economic and climatic changes, led to dramatic modifications of landscape composition and structure (Malkinson et al., 2011). Post-fire vegetation recovery depends on environmental factors such as landscape features and climatic variables and on specific plant traits; however it also depends on the differentiated response of each species to the characteristics of fire regimes, such as recurrence, severity and extent. The complexity of the interactions between these factors emphasizes the importance of assessing quantitatively post-fire recovery as well as the role of driving factors of regeneration over different regions in the Mediterranean. In 2006, Spain experienced the fire season with larger fires, restricted to a relatively small region of the province of Galicia, that represents more than 60% of total burned area of this fire season (92000ha out of 148827 ha). The 2007 fire season in Greece was remarkably severe, registering the highest value of burnt area (225734 ha) since 1980. Finally, in 2010 a very large wildfire of about 5000 ha occurred in Mount Carmel, Israel, with major social and environmental impacts. The work relies on monthly NDVI data from SPOT/VEGETATION at 1km spatial resolution over the period from September 1998 - August 2011 for Spain, Greece and Israel. Here we have applied the same sequential methodology developed at our laboratory, starting by the identification of very large burnt scars by means of a spatial cluster analysis followed by the application of the monoparametric model (Gouveia et al., 2010; Bastos et al., 2011) in order to study post-fire vegetation dynamics. Post-fire recovery times were estimated for burnt scars from each
... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 6 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Control of wildfires, insects, pest plants... MANAGEMENT General Rules § 35.7 Control of wildfires, insects, pest plants, and disease. To the extent necessary, the Director shall prescribe measures to control wildfires, insects, pest plants, and disease to...
Coco Liu, Jia; Mickley, Loretta J.; Sulprizio, Melissa P.; Yue, Xu; Peng, Roger D.; Dominici, Francesca; Bell, Michelle L.
Background. Wildfires are anticipated to be more frequent and intense under climate change. As a result, wildfires may emit more air pollutants that can harm health in communities in the future. The health impacts of wildfire smoke under climate change are largely unknown. Methods. We linked projections of future levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) specifically from wildfire smoke under the A1B climate change scenario using the GEOS-Chem model for 2046-2051, present-day estimates of hospital admission impacts from wildfire smoke, and future population projections to estimate the change in respiratory hospital admissions for persons ≥65 years by county (n = 561) from wildfire PM2.5 under climate change in the Western US. Results. The increase in intense wildfire smoke days from climate change would result in an estimated 178 (95% confidence interval: 6.2, 361) additional respiratory hospital admissions in the Western US, accounting for estimated future increase in the elderly population. Climate change is estimated to impose an additional 4990 high-pollution smoke days. Central Colorado, Washington and southern California are estimated to experience the highest percentage increase in respiratory admissions from wildfire smoke under climate change. Conclusion. Although the increase in number of respiratory admissions from wildfire smoke seems modest, these results provide important scientific evidence of an often-ignored aspect of wildfire impact, and information on their anticipated spatial distribution. Wildfires can cause serious social burdens such as property damage and suppression cost, but can also raise health problems. The results provide information that can be incorporated into development of environmental and health policies in response to climate change. Climate change adaptation policies could incorporate scientific evidence on health risks from natural disasters such as wildfires.
Full Text Available The Iberian Peninsula presents the highest number of wildfires in Europe. In the NW of Spain in particular, wildfires are the natural risk with the greatest economic impact in this region. Wildfires caused by lightning are closely related to the triggering of convective phenomena. The prediction of thunderstorms is a very complex task because these weather events have a local character and are highly dependent on mesoscale atmospheric conditions. The development of convective storms is directly linked to the existence of a synoptic environment favoring convection. The aim of this study is to classify the atmospheric patterns that provide favorable environments for the occurrence of wildfires caused by lightning in the region of Castile and Leon, Spain. The database used for the study contains 376 wildfire days from the period 1987–2006. NCEP data reanalysis has been used. The atmospheric fields used to characterise each day were: geopotential heights and temperatures at 500 hPa and 850 hPa, relative humidity and the horizontal wind at 850 hPa. A Principal Component Analysis in T-mode followed by a Cluster Analysis resulted in a classification of wildfire days into five clusters. The characteristics of these clusters were analysed and described, focusing particularly on the study of those wildfire days in which more than one wildfire was detected. In these cases the main feature observed was the intensification of the disturbance typical of the cluster to which the wildfire belongs.
Charles C. Rhoades
Full Text Available Wildfire is a natural disturbance, though elemental losses and changes that occur during combustion and post-fire erosion can have long-term impacts on soil properties, ecosystem productivity, and watershed condition. Here we evaluate the potential of forest residue-based materials to rehabilitate burned soils. We compare soil nutrient and water availability, and plant recovery after application of 37 t ha−1 of wood mulch, 20 t ha−1 of biochar, and the combination of the two amendments with untreated, burned soils. We also conducted a greenhouse trial to examine how biochar influenced soil nutrient and water content under two wetting regimes. The effects of wood mulch on plant-available soil N and water content were significant and seasonally consistent during the three-year field study. Biochar applied alone had few effects under field conditions, but significantly increased soil pH, Ca, P, and water in the greenhouse. The mulched biochar treatment had the greatest effects on soil N and water availability and increased cover of the most abundant native plant. We found that rehabilitation treatments consisting of forest residue-based products have potential to enhance soil N and water dynamics and plant recovery following severe wildfire and may be justified where erosion risk or water supply protection are crucial.
Mozumder, Pallab; Helton, Ryan; Berrens, Robert P
Wildfires in the wildland urban interface (WUI) are an increasing concern throughout the western United States and elsewhere. WUI communities continue to grow and thus increase the wildfire risk to human lives and property. Information such as a wildfire risk map can inform WUI residents of potential risks and may help to efficiently sort mitigation efforts. This study uses the survey-based contingent valuation (CV) method to examine annual household willingness to pay (WTP) for the provision of a wildfire risk map. Data were collected through a mail survey of the East Mountain WUI area in the State of New Mexico (USA). The integrated empirical approach includes a system of equations that involves joint estimation of WTP values, along with measures of a respondent's risk perception and risk mitigation behavior. The median estimated WTP is around U.S. $12 for the annual wildfire risk map, which covers at least the costs of producing and distributing available risk information. Further, providing a wildfire risk map can help address policy goals emphasizing information gathering and sharing among stakeholders to mitigate the effects of wildfires.
Michele Salis; Alan A. Ager; Bachisio Arca; Mark A. Finney; Valentina Bacciu; Pierpaolo Duce; Donatella. Spano
We used simulation modelling to analyze spatial variation in wildfire exposure relative to key social and economic features on the island of Sardinia, Italy. Sardinia contains a high density of urban interfaces, recreational values and highly valued agricultural areas that are increasingly being threatened by severe wildfires. Historical fire data and wildfire...
Moody, John A.; Shakesby, Richard A.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Cannon, Susan H.; Martin, Deborah A.
Research into post-wildfire effects began in the United States more than 70 years ago and only later extended to other parts of the world. Post-wildfire responses are typically transient, episodic, variable in space and time, dependent on thresholds, and involve multiple processes measured by different methods. These characteristics tend to hinder research progress, but the large empirical knowledge base amassed in different regions of the world suggests that it should now be possible to synthesize the data and make a substantial improvement in the understanding of post-wildfire runoff and erosion response. Thus, it is important to identify and prioritize the research issues related to post-wildfire runoff and erosion. Priority research issues are the need to: (1) organize and synthesize similarities and differences in post-wildfire responses between different fire-prone regions of the world in order to determine common patterns and generalities that can explain cause and effect relations; (2) identify and quantify functional relations between metrics of fire effects and soil hydraulic properties that will better represent the dynamic and transient conditions after a wildfire; (3) determine the interaction between burned landscapes and temporally and spatially variable meso-scale precipitation, which is often the primary driver of post-wildfire runoff and erosion responses; (4) determine functional relations between precipitation, basin morphology, runoff connectivity, contributing area, surface roughness, depression storage, and soil characteristics required to predict the timing, magnitudes, and duration of floods and debris flows from ungaged burned basins; and (5) develop standard measurement methods that will ensure the collection of uniform and comparable runoff and erosion data. Resolution of these issues will help to improve conceptual and computer models of post-wildfire runoff and erosion processes.
Flitcroft, Rebecca L; Falke, Jeffrey A.; Reeves, Gordon H.; Hessburg, Paul F.; McNyset, Kris M.; Benda, Lee E.
Pacific Northwest salmonids are adapted to natural disturbance regimes that create dynamic habitat patterns over space and through time. However, human land use, particularly long-term fire suppression, has altered the intensity and frequency of wildfire in forested upland and riparian areas. To examine the potential impacts of wildfire on aquatic systems, we developed stream-reach-scale models of freshwater habitat for three life stages (adult, egg/fry, and juvenile) of spring Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Wenatchee River subbasin, Washington. We used variables representing pre- and post-fire habitat conditions and employed novel techniques to capture changes in in-stream fine sediment, wood, and water temperature. Watershed-scale comparisons of high-quality habitat for each life stage of spring Chinook salmon habitat suggested that there are smaller quantities of high-quality juvenile overwinter habitat as compared to habitat for other life stages. We found that wildfire has the potential to increase quality of adult and overwintering juvenile habitat through increased delivery of wood, while decreasing the quality of egg and fry habitat due to the introduction of fine sediments. Model results showed the largest effect of fire on habitat quality associated with the juvenile life stage, resulting in increases in high-quality habitat in all watersheds. Due to the limited availability of pre-fire high-quality juvenile habitat, and increased habitat quality for this life stage post-fire, occurrence of characteristic wildfires would likely create a positive effect on spring Chinook salmon habitat in the Wenatchee River subbasin. We also compared pre- and post-fire model results of freshwater habitat for each life stage, and for the geometric mean of habitat quality across all life stages, using current compared to the historic distribution of spring Chinook salmon. We found that spring Chinook salmon are currently distributed in stream channels in
Full Text Available Wildfires pose a significant risk to human livelihoods and are a substantial health hazard due to emissions of toxic smoke. Previous studies have shown that climate change, increasing atmospheric CO2, and human demographic dynamics can lead to substantially altered wildfire risk in the future, with fire activity increasing in some regions and decreasing in others. The present study re-examines these results from the perspective of air pollution risk, focussing on emissions of airborne particulate matter (PM2. 5, combining an existing ensemble of simulations using a coupled fire–dynamic vegetation model with current observation-based estimates of wildfire emissions and simulations with a chemical transport model. Currently, wildfire PM2. 5 emissions exceed those from anthropogenic sources in large parts of the world. We further analyse two extreme sets of future wildfire emissions in a socio-economic, demographic climate change context and compare them to anthropogenic emission scenarios reflecting current and ambitious air pollution legislation. In most regions of the world, ambitious reductions of anthropogenic air pollutant emissions have the potential to limit mean annual pollutant PM2. 5 levels to comply with World Health Organization (WHO air quality guidelines for PM2. 5. Worst-case future wildfire emissions are not likely to interfere with these annual goals, largely due to fire seasonality, as well as a tendency of wildfire sources to be situated in areas of intermediate population density, as opposed to anthropogenic sources that tend to be highest at the highest population densities. However, during the high-fire season, we find many regions where future PM2. 5 pollution levels can reach dangerous levels even for a scenario of aggressive reduction of anthropogenic emissions.
Hurteau, Matthew D; Liang, Shuang; Martin, Katherine L; North, Malcolm P; Koch, George W; Hungate, Bruce A
Changing climate and a legacy of fire-exclusion have increased the probability of high-severity wildfire, leading to an increased risk of forest carbon loss in ponderosa pine forests in the southwestern USA. Efforts to reduce high-severity fire risk through forest thinning and prescribed burning require both the removal and emission of carbon from these forests, and any potential carbon benefits from treatment may depend on the occurrence of wildfire. We sought to determine how forest treatments alter the effects of stochastic wildfire events on the forest carbon balance. We modeled three treatments (control, thin-only, and thin and burn) with and without the occurrence of wildfire. We evaluated how two different probabilities of wildfire occurrence, 1% and 2% per year, might alter the carbon balance of treatments. In the absence of wildfire, we found that thinning and burning treatments initially reduced total ecosystem carbon (TEC) and increased net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB). In the presence of wildfire, the thin and burn treatment TEC surpassed that of the control in year 40 at 2%/yr wildfire probability, and in year 51 at 1%/yr wildfire probability. NECB in the presence of wildfire showed a similar response to the no-wildfire scenarios: both thin-only and thin and burn treatments increased the C sink. Treatments increased TEC by reducing both mean wildfire severity and its variability. While the carbon balance of treatments may differ in more productive forest types, the carbon balance benefits from restoring forest structure and fire in southwestern ponderosa pine forests are clear.
Mallia, D. V.; Kochanski, A.; Wu, D.; Urbanski, S. P.; Krueger, S. K.; Lin, J. C.
Wildfires can generate significant pyro-convection that is responsible for releasing pollutants, greenhouse gases, and trace species into the free troposphere, which are then transported a significant distance downwind from the fire. Oftentimes, atmospheric transport and chemistry models have a difficult time resolving the transport of smoke from these wildfires, primarily due to deficiencies in estimating the plume injection height, which has been highlighted in previous work as the most important aspect of simulating wildfire plume transport. As a result of the uncertainties associated with modeled wildfire plume rise, researchers face difficulties modeling the impacts of wildfire smoke on air quality and constraining fire emissions using inverse modeling techniques. Currently, several plume rise parameterizations exist that are able to determine the injection height of fire emissions; however, the success of these parameterizations has been mixed. With the advent of WRF-SFIRE, the wildfire plume rise and injection height can now be explicitly calculated using a fire spread model (SFIRE) that is dynamically linked with the atmosphere simulated by WRF. However, this model has only been tested on a limited basis due to computational costs. Here, we will test the performance of WRF-SFIRE in addition to several commonly adopted plume parameterizations (Freitas, Sofiev, and Briggs) for the 2013 Patch Springs (Utah) and 2012 Baker Canyon (Washington) fires, for both of which observations of plume rise heights are available. These plume rise techniques will then be incorporated within a Lagrangian atmospheric transport model (STILT) in order to simulate CO and CO2 concentrations during NASA's CARVE Earth Science Airborne Program over Alaska during the summer of 2012. Initial model results showed that STILT model simulations were unable to reproduce enhanced CO concentrations produced by Alaskan fires observed during 2012. Near-surface concentrations were drastically
Justice, C. J.
In 2011, central Texas had its worst drought since the 1950's. This, in conjunction with the strong winds produced by Tropical Storm Lee created conditions that made possible the Bastrop County Complex Fire in September 2011. These record-breaking wildfires burned over 95% of the 6,565-acre Bastrop State Park (BSP). Since 2003, BSP had been using prescribed burns as a management practice to reduce fuel load and prevent high severity wildfires. Although these prescribed fires did not prevent the 2011 wildfires they may have mitigated their effects. This study considered the effect of prescribed burn history and wildfire burn severity on vegetation recovery in BSP since the 2011 wildfire. The hypotheses of this study are that prescribed burn history and wildfire burn severity separately and jointly have affected post wildfire vegetation. To test these hypotheses, data were collected in 2013 from 46 plots across BSP using the Fire Effects Monitoring and Inventory (FIREMON) protocol to determine herbaceous plant density, shrub density, overstory density, and midstory tree density. Data were analyzed using analyses of variance (ANOVA) to determine the effects of prescribed fire and wildfire severity on these vegetation measurements. It was found that more severely burned plots had more herbaceous plants, fewer midstory trees, and lower shrub densities than less severely burned plots. Contrary to an initial hypotheses, there were few relationships between prescribed burn history and wildfire effects. The only significant effect detected for prescribed burning was the positive effect of prescribed fire on midstory tree density, but only for plots that were not severely burned in the wildfire. In this system, burn severity had a greater effect on post-wildfire vegetation than prescribed burns.
Breidenthal, Robert; Alvarado, Travis; Potter, Brian
Water tunnel experiments reveal the flame length of a chemically-reacting plume in a crossflow. Salt water containing a pH indicator and a base is slowly injected from above into the test section of a water tunnel containing an acidic solution. The flame length is measured optically as a function of the buoyancy flux, crossflow speed, and volume equivalence ratio of the chemical reaction. Based on earlier work of Broadwell with the transverse jet, a simple dilution model predicts the flame length of the transverse plume. The plume observations are in accord with the model. As with the jet, there is a minimum in the flame length of the plume at a transition between two self-similar regimes, corresponding to the formation of a pair of counter-rotating vortices at a certain crossflow speed. At the transition, there is a maximum in the entrainment and mixing rates. In an actual wildfire with variable winds, this transition may correspond to a dangerous condition for firefighters.
Matthew P. Peters; Louis R. Iverson
Wildfires in the eastern United States are generally caused by humans in locations where human development and natural vegetation intermingle, e.g. the wildlandâurban interface (WUI). Knowing where wildfire hazards are elevated across the forested landscape may help land managers and property owners plan or allocate resources for potential wildfire threats. In an...
Full Text Available Fire is an intrinsic element of many forest ecosystems; it shapes their ecological processes, determines species composition and influences landscape structure. However, wildfires may: have undesirable effects on biodiversity and vegetation coverage; produce carbon emissions to the atmosphere; release smoke affecting human health; and cause loss of lives and property. There have been increasing concerns about the potential impacts of climate variability and change on forest fires. Climate change can alter factors that influence the occurrence of fire ignitions, fuel availability and fuel flammability. This review paper aims to identify tools and methods used for gathering information about the impacts of climate variability and change on forest fires, forest fuels and the probability of fires. Tools to assess the impacts of climate variability and change on forest fires include: remote sensing, dynamic global vegetation and landscape models, integrated fire-vegetation models, fire danger rating systems, empirical models and fire behavior models. This review outlines each tool in terms of its characteristics, spatial and temporal resolution, limitations and applicability of the results. To enhance and improve tool performance, each must be continuously tested in all types of forest ecosystems.
Charles C. Rhoades
Full Text Available The 2010 Church’s Park Fire burned beetle-killed lodgepole pine stands in Colorado, including recently salvage-logged areas, creating a fortuitous opportunity to compare the effects of salvage logging, wildfire and the combination of logging followed by wildfire. Here, we examine tree regeneration, surface fuels, understory plants, inorganic soil nitrogen and water infiltration in uncut and logged stands, outside and inside the fire perimeter. Subalpine fir recruitment was abundant in uncut, unburned, beetle-killed stands, whereas lodgepole pine recruitment was abundant in cut stands. Logging roughly doubled woody fuel cover and halved forb and shrub cover. Wildfire consumed all conifer seedlings in uncut and cut stands and did not stimulate new conifer regeneration within four years of the fire. Aspen regeneration, in contrast, was relatively unaffected by logging or burning, alone or combined. Wildfire also drastically reduced cover of soil organic horizons, fine woody fuels, graminoids and shrubs relative to unburned, uncut areas; moreover, the compound effect of logging and wildfire was generally similar to wildfire alone. This case study documents scarce conifer regeneration but ample aspen regeneration after a wildfire that occurred in the later stage of a severe beetle outbreak. Salvage logging had mixed effects on tree regeneration, understory plant and surface cover and soil nitrogen, but neither exacerbated nor ameliorated wildfire effects on those resources.
Krishna Bahadur Bhujel
Full Text Available Occasional precipitation plays a vital role in reducing the effect of wildfire. This precipitation is especially important for countries like Nepal, where wildfires are a common seasonal event. Approximately 0.1 million hectare of forest area is affected annually due to wildfires in active fire season. The study on the relation of these forms of occasional precipitation with wildfire incidence is still lacking. This research was objectively carried out to examine the correlation of occasional precipitation with wildfire incidence and burnt area. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spector-Radiometer (MODIS satellite images and precipitation records for 15 years gathered from Department of Hydrology and Metrology were used as input data for this study. The images were analyzed by using ArcGIS function while the precipitation records were analyzed by using Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS program. The linear regression model was applied to find correlation of occasional precipitation with wildfire incidence and burnt area. Analysis revealed decreasing trend of precipitation in study area. We found significant correlation (p<0.05 of precipitation with wildfire incidence and burnt area. Findings will be useful for policy makers, implementers and researchers to manage wildfire in sustainable basis.
Sarah M. McCaffrey; Alan Rhodes
In the United States, the increasing costs and negative impacts of wildfires are causing fire managers and policymakers to reexamine traditional approaches to fire management including whether mass evacuation of populations threatened by wildfire is always the most appropriate option. This article examines the Australian "stay and defend or leave early" (SDLE...
Black, Carolyn; Tesfaigzi, Yohannes; Bassein, Jed A; Miller, Lisa A
Understanding the effect of wildfire smoke exposure on human health represents a unique interdisciplinary challenge to the scientific community. Population health studies indicate that wildfire smoke is a risk to human health and increases the healthcare burden of smoke-impacted areas. However, wildfire smoke composition is complex and dynamic, making characterization and modeling difficult. Furthermore, current efforts to study the effect of wildfire smoke are limited by availability of air quality measures and inconsistent air quality reporting among researchers. To help address these issues, we conducted a substantive review of wildfire smoke effects on population health, wildfire smoke exposure in occupational health, and experimental wood smoke exposure. Our goal was to evaluate the current literature on wildfire smoke and highlight important gaps in research. In particular we emphasize long-term health effects of wildfire smoke, recovery following wildfire smoke exposure, and health consequences of exposure in children. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Jessica L. Hudec; David L. Peterson
Fire severity influences post-burn structure and composition of a forest and the potential for a future fire to burn through the area. The effects of fire on forests with mixed severity fire regimes are difficult to predict and interpret because the quantity, structure, and composition of forest fuels vary considerably. This study examines the relationship between fire...
Keeley, Jon E.; Syphard, Alexandra D.
Climate and weather have long been noted as playing key roles in wildfire activity, and global warming is expected to exacerbate fire impacts on natural and urban ecosystems. Predicting future fire regimes requires an understanding of how temperature and precipitation interact to control fire activity. Inevitably this requires historical analyses that relate annual burning to climate variation. Fuel structure plays a critical role in determining which climatic parameters are most influential on fire activity, and here, by focusing on the diversity of ecosystems in California, we illustrate some principles that need to be recognized in predicting future fire regimes. Spatial scale of analysis is important in that large heterogeneous landscapes may not fully capture accurate relationships between climate and fires. Within climatically homogeneous subregions, montane forested landscapes show strong relationships between annual fluctuations in temperature and precipitation with area burned; however, this is strongly seasonal dependent; e.g., winter temperatures have very little or no effect but spring and summer temperatures are critical. Climate models that predict future seasonal temperature changes are needed to improve fire regime projections. Climate does not appear to be a major determinant of fire activity on all landscapes. Lower elevations and lower latitudes show little or no increase in fire activity with hotter and drier conditions. On these landscapes climate is not usually limiting to fires but these vegetation types are ignition-limited. Moreover, because they are closely juxtaposed with human habitations, fire regimes are more strongly controlled by other direct anthropogenic impacts. Predicting future fire regimes is not rocket science; it is far more complicated than that. Climate change is not relevant to some landscapes, but where climate is relevant, the relationship will change due to direct climate effects on vegetation trajectories, as well as
Jon E. Keeley
Full Text Available Climate and weather have long been noted as playing key roles in wildfire activity, and global warming is expected to exacerbate fire impacts on natural and urban ecosystems. Predicting future fire regimes requires an understanding of how temperature and precipitation interact to control fire activity. Inevitably this requires historical analyses that relate annual burning to climate variation. Fuel structure plays a critical role in determining which climatic parameters are most influential on fire activity, and here, by focusing on the diversity of ecosystems in California, we illustrate some principles that need to be recognized in predicting future fire regimes. Spatial scale of analysis is important in that large heterogeneous landscapes may not fully capture accurate relationships between climate and fires. Within climatically homogeneous subregions, montane forested landscapes show strong relationships between annual fluctuations in temperature and precipitation with area burned; however, this is strongly seasonal dependent; e.g., winter temperatures have very little or no effect but spring and summer temperatures are critical. Climate models that predict future seasonal temperature changes are needed to improve fire regime projections. Climate does not appear to be a major determinant of fire activity on all landscapes. Lower elevations and lower latitudes show little or no increase in fire activity with hotter and drier conditions. On these landscapes climate is not usually limiting to fires but these vegetation types are ignition-limited. Moreover, because they are closely juxtaposed with human habitations, fire regimes are more strongly controlled by other direct anthropogenic impacts. Predicting future fire regimes is not rocket science; it is far more complicated than that. Climate change is not relevant to some landscapes, but where climate is relevant, the relationship will change due to direct climate effects on vegetation
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources — This theme shows the locations of wildfires for which the DNR was the primary responding agency. These include fires not only on state lands, but also rural private...
Brian Muller; Stacey Schulte
Long-term management of wildfire vulnerability requires strategies that address complex interactions between fire ecology and human settlement. In this paper, we examine the integration of wildfire mitigation and land use planning in county governments in the western U.S. This research relies on data from two sources. First, we conducted a survey of land use...
Levin, Noam; Tessler, Naama; Smith, Andrew; McAlpine, Clive
Wildfires are expected to increase in Mediterranean landscapes as a result of climate change and changes in land-use practices. In order to advance our understanding of human and physical factors shaping spatial patterns of wildfires in the region, we compared two independently generated datasets of wildfires for Israel that cover approximately the same study period. We generated a site-based dataset containing the location of 10,879 wildfires (1991-2011), and compared it to a dataset of burnt areas derived from MODIS imagery (2000-2011). We hypothesized that the physical and human factors explaining the spatial distribution of burnt areas derived from remote sensing (mostly large fires, >100 ha) will differ from those explaining site-based wildfires recorded by national agencies (mostly small fires, human activities, improving the management of forest areas and raising public awareness to fire risk are key considerations in reducing fire danger.
Jaffe, Daniel A; Wigder, Nicole; Downey, Nicole; Pfister, Gabriele; Boynard, Anne; Reid, Stephen B
Wildfires generate substantial emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). As such, wildfires contribute to elevated ozone (O3) in the atmosphere. However, there is a large amount of variability in the emissions of O3 precursors and the amount of O3 produced between fires. There is also significant interannual variability as seen in median O3, organic carbon and satellite derived carbon monoxide mixing ratios in the western U.S. To better understand O3 produced from wildfires, we developed a statistical model that estimates the maximum daily 8 h average (MDA8) O3 as a function of several meteorological and temporal variables for three urban areas in the western U.S.: Salt Lake City, UT; Boise, ID; and Reno, NV. The model is developed using data from June-September 2000-2012. For these three locations, the statistical model can explain 60, 52, and 27% of the variability in daily MDA8. The Statistical Model Residual (SMR) can give information on additional sources of O3 that are not explained by the usual meteorological pattern. Several possible O3 sources can explain high SMR values on any given day. We examine several cases with high SMR that are due to wildfire influence. The first case considered is for Reno in June 2008 when the MDA8 reached 82 ppbv. The wildfire influence for this episode is supported by PM concentrations, the known location of wildfires at the time and simulations with the Weather and Research Forecasting Model with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) which indicates transport to Reno from large fires burning in California. The contribution to the MDA8 in Reno from the California wildfires is estimated to be 26 ppbv, based on the SMR, and 60 ppbv, based on WRF-Chem. The WRF-Chem model also indicates an important role for peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN) in producing O3 during transport from the California wildfires. We hypothesize that enhancements in PAN due to wildfire emissions may lead to regional enhancements in O3 during high
Gabriel Wigtil; Roger B. Hammer; Jeffrey D. Kline; Miranda H. Mockrin; Susan I. Stewart; Daniel Roper; Volker C. Radeloff
The hazards-of-place model posits that vulnerability to environmental hazards depends on both biophysical and social factors. Biophysical factors determine where wildfire potential is elevated, whereas social factors determine where and how people are affected by wildfire. We evaluated place vulnerability to wildfire hazards in the coterminous US. We developed...
Kooistra, C.; Hall, T. E.; Paveglio, T.; Pickering, M.
Disturbances such as wildfire are important features of forested landscapes. The trajectory of changes following wildfires (often referred to as landscape recovery) continues to be an important research topic among ecologists and wildfire scientists. However, the landscape recovery process also has important social dimensions that may or may not correspond to ecological or biophysical perspectives. Perceptions of landscape recovery may affect people's attitudes and behaviors related to forest and wildfire management. We explored the variables that influence people's perceptions of landscape recovery across 25 fires that occurred in 2011 or 2012 in the United States of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana and that represented a range of fire behavior characteristics and landscape impacts. Residents near each of the 25 fires were randomly selected to receive questionnaires about their experiences with the nearby fire, including perceived impacts and how the landscape had recovered since the fire. People generally perceived landscapes as recovering, even though only one to two years had passed. Regression analysis suggested that perceptions of landscape recovery were positively related to stronger beliefs about the ecological role of fire and negatively related to loss of landscape attachment, concern about erosion, increasing distance from the fire perimeter, and longer lasting fires. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) analysis indicated that the above relationships were largely consistent across fires. These findings highlight that perceptions of post-fire landscape recovery are influenced by more than vegetation changes and include emotional and cognitive factors. We discuss the management implications of these findings.
This site provides an online Smoke Ready Toolbox for Wildfires, which lists resources and tools that provide information on health impacts from smoke exposure, current fire conditions and forecasts and strategies to reduce exposure to smoke.
Linn, Rodman Ray [Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Koo, Eunmo [Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Honig, Kristen Ann [Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); White, Judith [Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Funk, David John [Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and surrounding areas have been exposed to at least four significant wildfires since 1977 and there have been numerous others within 50 miles of LANL. Based on this history, wildfires are considered a risk to LANL facilities and their contents. While many LANL facilities are at risk to wildfire to some degree, they are found in a wide variety of conditions, thus they have varying sensitivities to wildfires. Additionally, LANL facilities have various functions and different assets, so they have a wide range of values or consequences if compromised. Therefore, determining the risks and precautions that are warranted to mitigate these risks must be done on a case-by-case basis. In an effort to assess possible wildfire risks to sensitive materials stored in a Perma-Con® in dome TA-54-0375, a conventional fire risk analysis was performed. This conventional risk analysis is documented in Engineering Evaluation Form AP-FIRE-001-FM1, which is dated 9/28/2015 and was titled ‘Wildland Fire Exposure Evaluation for Building TA-54-0375’ (Hall 2015). This analysis acknowledged that there was significant chance of wildfire in the vicinity of TA-54-0375, but the amount of combustible material surrounding the building was deemed low. The wildland fuels that were closest to the building were largely fine fuels and were not expected to have significant duration of heat release. The prevailing winds at this location are from the south and southwest and the nearest significant upwind fuels (tree crowns or unmown grasses) are at least 300 feet away. Based on these factors the conventional wildland fire risk to TA-54-0375 was deemed minimal, “Acceptable As Is, No Action Required.” This risk evaluation was based on a combined assessment of low probability of wildfires arriving at the site from other directions (where higher fuel loadings might be present) as well as the effective setback of fuels in the direction that fire is
Lankoande, Mariam D.; Yoder, Jonathan K.; Wandschneider, Philip R.
Contingent wildfire insurance and fuel management cost-sharing programs are becoming more prevalent in western states. This paper develops a model to examine the incentive effects of these two mechanisms for private investment in wildfire risk mitigation. The model shows that contingent insurance contracts strengthen incentives for risk mitigation relative to pooled contracts and subsidies induce more risk mitigation effort by reducing margin private costs of mitigation. With pooled insurance...
D. Evan Mercer; Jeffrey P. Prestemon; David T. Butry; John M. Pye
We estimate a wildfire risk model with a new measure of wildfire output, intensity-weighted risk and use it in Monte Carlo simulations to estimate welfare changes from alternative prescribed burning policies. Using Volusia County, Florida as a case study, an annual prescribed burning rate of 13% of all forest lands maximizes net welfare; ignoring the effects on wildfire intensity may underestimate optimal rates of prescribed burning. Our estimated supply function for prescribed fire services ...
Syarifah, Wardatus; Apriliani, Erna
Wildfire is one of the most frequent disasters in the world, for example forest wildfire, causing population of forest decrease. Forest wildfire, whether naturally occurring or prescribed, are potential risks for ecosystems and human settlements. These risks can be managed by monitoring the weather, prescribing fires to limit available fuel, and creating firebreaks. With computer simulations we can predict and explore how fires may spread. The model of fire spread on forest wildfire was established to determine the fire properties. The fire spread model is prepared based on the equation of the diffusion reaction model. There are many methods to estimate the spread of fire. The Kalman Filter Ensemble Method is a modified estimation method of the Kalman Filter algorithm that can be used to estimate linear and non-linear system models. In this research will apply Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF) method to estimate the spread of fire on forest wildfire. Before applying the EnKF method, the fire spread model will be discreted using finite difference method. At the end, the analysis obtained illustrated by numerical simulation using software. The simulation results show that the Ensemble Kalman Filter method is closer to the system model when the ensemble value is greater, while the covariance value of the system model and the smaller the measurement.
William J Platt
Full Text Available Fire seasonality, an important characteristic of fire regimes, commonly is delineated using seasons based on single weather variables (rainfall or temperature. We used nonparametric cluster analyses of a 17-year (1993-2009 data set of weather variables that influence likelihoods and spread of fires (relative humidity, air temperature, solar radiation, wind speed, soil moisture to explore seasonality of fire in pine savanna-grassland landscapes at the Avon Park Air Force Range in southern Florida. A four-variable, three-season model explained more variation within fire weather variables than models with more seasons. The three-season model also delineated intra-annual timing of fire more accurately than a conventional rainfall-based two-season model. Two seasons coincided roughly with dry and wet seasons based on rainfall. The third season, which we labeled the fire season, occurred between dry and wet seasons and was characterized by fire-promoting conditions present annually: drought, intense solar radiation, low humidity, and warm air temperatures. Fine fuels consisting of variable combinations of pyrogenic pine needles, abundant C4 grasses, and flammable shrubs, coupled with low soil moisture, and lightning ignitions early in the fire season facilitate natural landscape-scale wildfires that burn uplands and across wetlands. We related our three season model to fires with different ignition sources (lightning, military missions, and prescribed fires over a 13-year period with fire records (1997-2009. Largest wildfires originate from lightning and military ignitions that occur within the early fire season substantially prior to the peak of lightning strikes in the wet season. Prescribed ignitions, in contrast, largely occur outside the fire season. Our delineation of a pronounced fire season provides insight into the extent to which different human-derived fire regimes mimic lightning fire regimes. Delineation of a fire season associated with
Platt, William J.; Orzell, Steve L.; Slocum, Matthew G.
Fire seasonality, an important characteristic of fire regimes, commonly is delineated using seasons based on single weather variables (rainfall or temperature). We used nonparametric cluster analyses of a 17-year (1993–2009) data set of weather variables that influence likelihoods and spread of fires (relative humidity, air temperature, solar radiation, wind speed, soil moisture) to explore seasonality of fire in pine savanna-grassland landscapes at the Avon Park Air Force Range in southern Florida. A four-variable, three-season model explained more variation within fire weather variables than models with more seasons. The three-season model also delineated intra-annual timing of fire more accurately than a conventional rainfall-based two-season model. Two seasons coincided roughly with dry and wet seasons based on rainfall. The third season, which we labeled the fire season, occurred between dry and wet seasons and was characterized by fire-promoting conditions present annually: drought, intense solar radiation, low humidity, and warm air temperatures. Fine fuels consisting of variable combinations of pyrogenic pine needles, abundant C4 grasses, and flammable shrubs, coupled with low soil moisture, and lightning ignitions early in the fire season facilitate natural landscape-scale wildfires that burn uplands and across wetlands. We related our three season model to fires with different ignition sources (lightning, military missions, and prescribed fires) over a 13-year period with fire records (1997–2009). Largest wildfires originate from lightning and military ignitions that occur within the early fire season substantially prior to the peak of lightning strikes in the wet season. Prescribed ignitions, in contrast, largely occur outside the fire season. Our delineation of a pronounced fire season provides insight into the extent to which different human-derived fire regimes mimic lightning fire regimes. Delineation of a fire season associated with timing of
Fernández Filgueira, Cristina; Vega Hidalgo, José A.; Fontúrbel Lliteras, Teresa
Galicia (NW Spain) is one of the most wildfire-affected areas in Western Europe and where the highest soil losses following fire are recorded in the Iberian Peninsula. During the last decade, mitigation of hydrological and erosive risk has been an important objective for researchers and forest managers. For this reason, research carried out has focused on three main issues: i) the development of operational tools to prioritize post-fire soil stabilization actions, based on soil burn severity indicators and remote sensed information, and testing of their ability to reflect degradation risk in relevant soil properties and subsequent soil erosion, ii) the development and testing of different soil stabilization treatments and their effectiveness for reducing erosion, following their application at broad scale, under the specific environmental conditions of Galicia and iii) the assessment of the performance of current erosion models as well as the development of empirical models to predict post-fire soil losses. On the other hand, the use of forest resources is an essential component of the regional incomes in NW Spain and consequently there is a pressing necessity for investigation on techniques suitable for reconciling soil conservation and sustainable use of those resources. In the framework of wildfire impacts this involve many and complex challenges. This scenario contrast with most of the Iberian Peninsula under Mediterranean influence where salvage logging is not a priority. As in other regions, post-fire hydrologic and erosive risk modeling, including threatened resources vulnerability evaluation is also a capital research need, particularly in a climate change context where dramatic changes in drivers such as precipitation, evapotranspiration and fire regime are expected. The study was funded by the National Institute of Agricultural Research of Spain (INIA) through project RTA2014-00011-C06-02, cofunded by FEDER and the Plan de Mejora e Innovación Forestal de
Katherine Dickinson; Hannah Brenkert-Smith; Patricia Champ; Nicholas Flores
Social interactions are widely recognized as a potential influence on risk-related behaviors. We present a mediation model in which social interactions (classified as formal/informal and generic-fire-specific) are associated with beliefs about wildfire risk and mitigation options, which in turn shape wildfire mitigation behaviors. We test this model using survey data...
Sarah M. McCaffrey; Anne-Lise Knox Velez; Jason Alexander. Briefel
This paper examines whether evacuees from two wildfires displayed different information seeking behavior than non-evacuees. Findings are the results of a mail survey sent to residents affected by wildfires outside Flagstaff, Arizona and Boulder, Colorado in 2010. We found evacuees sought information more actively than non-evacuees and placed a greater emphasis on use...
Ager, A.; Finney, M.
Wildfire simulation models are being widely used by fire and fuels specialists in the U.S. to support tactical and strategic decisions related to the mitigation of wildfire risk. Much of this application has resulted from the development of a minimum travel time (MTT) fire spread algorithm (M. Finney) that makes it computationally feasible to simulate thousands of fires and generate burn probability and intensity maps over large areas (10,000 - 2,000,000 ha). The MTT algorithm is parallelized for multi-threaded processing and is imbedded in a number of research and applied fire modeling applications. High performance computers (e.g., 32-way 64 bit SMP) are typically used for MTT simulations, although the algorithm is also implemented in the 32 bit desktop FlamMap3 program (www.fire.org). Extensive testing has shown that this algorithm can replicate large fire boundaries in the heterogeneous landscapes that typify much of the wildlands in the western U.S. In this paper, we describe the application of the MTT algorithm to understand spatial patterns of burn probability (BP), and to analyze wildfire risk to key human and ecological values. The work is focused on a federally-managed 2,000,000 ha landscape in the central interior region of Oregon State, USA. The fire-prone study area encompasses a wide array of topography and fuel types and a number of highly valued resources that are susceptible to fire. We quantitatively defined risk as the product of the probability of a fire and the resulting consequence. Burn probabilities at specific intensity classes were estimated for each 100 x 100 m pixel by simulating 100,000 wildfires under burn conditions that replicated recent severe wildfire events that occurred under conditions where fire suppression was generally ineffective (97th percentile, August weather). We repeated the simulation under milder weather (70th percentile, August weather) to replicate a "wildland fire use scenario" where suppression is minimized to
Fermín J. Alcasena
Full Text Available We provide 40 m resolution wildfire spread, hazard and exposure metric raster grids for the 0.13 million ha fire-prone Bages County in central Catalonia (northeastern Spain corresponding to node influence grid (NIG, crown fraction burned (CFB and fire transmission to residential houses (TR. Fire spread and behavior data (NIG, CFB and fire perimeters were generated with fire simulation modeling considering wildfire season extreme fire weather conditions (97th percentile. Moreover, CFB was also generated for prescribed fire (Rx mild weather conditions. The TR smoothed grid was obtained with a geospatial analysis considering large fire perimeters and individual residential structures located within the study area. We made these raster grids available to assist in the optimization of wildfire risk management plans within the study area and to help mitigate potential losses from catastrophic events. Keywords: Catalonia, Wildfire exposure, Fire transmission, Crown fire activity, Prescribed fires
González-Pelayo, Oscar; Malvar, Maruxa; van den Elsen, Erik; Hosseini, Mohammadreza; Coelho, Celeste; Ritsema, Coen; Bautista, Susana; Keizer, Jacob
The increasing fire recurrence on forest in the Mediterranean basin is well-established by future climate scenarios due to land use changes and climate predictions. By this, shifts on mature pine woodlands to shrub rangelands are of major importance on forest ecosystems buffer functions, since historical patterns of established vegetation help to recover from fire disturbances. This fact, together with the predicted expansion of the drought periods, will affect feedback processes of vegetation patterns since water availability on these seasons are driven by post-fire local soil properties. Although fire impacts of soil properties and water availability has been widely studied using the fire severity as the main factor, little research is developed on post-fire soil moisture patterns, including the fire recurrence as a key explanatory variable. The following research investigated, in pine woodlands of north central Portugal, the short-term consequences (one year after a fire) of wildfire recurrence on the surface soil moisture content (SMC) and on effective soil water (SWEFF, parameter that includes actual daily soil moisture, soil field capacity-FC and permanent wilting point-PWP). The study set-up includes analyses at two fire recurrence scenarios (1x- and 4x-burnt since 1975), at a patch level (shrub patch/interpatch) and at two soil depths (2.5 and 7.5 cm) in a nested approach. Understanding how fire recurrence affects water in soil over space and time is the main goal of this research. The use of soil moisture sensors in a nested approach, the rainfall features and analyses on basic soil properties as soil organic matter, texture, bulk density, pF curves, soil water repellency and soil surface components will establish which factors has the largest role in controlling soil moisture behavior. Main results displayed, in a seasonal and yearly basis, no differences on SMC as increasing fire recurrence (1x- vs 4x-burnt) neither between patch/interpatch microsites at
Forest fires in the Euro-Mediterranean region burn about 450,000 ha each year. In Israel, the frequency and extent of wildfires have been steadily increasing over the past decades, culminating in several large and costly fires in 2010, 2012 and 2016. The extensive development of forest areas since the 1950's and the accumulation of fuel in the forests, has led to increased occurrences of high intensity fires. Land-use changes and human population growth are the most prevailing and common determinant of wildfire occurrence and impacts. Climate extremes, possibly already a sign of regional climate change, are another frequent determinant of increasing wildfire risk. Therefore, the combination of extreme dry spells, high fuel loads and increased anthropogenic pressure on the open spaces result in an overall amplified wildfire risk. These fires not only cause loss of life and damage to properties but also carry serious environmental repercussions. Combustion of standing vegetation and the leaf litter leave the soil bare and vulnerable to runoff and erosion, thereby increasing risks of flooding. Today, all of Israel's open spaces, forests, natural parks, major metropolitan centers, towns and villages are embedded within the wildland urban interface (WUI). Typically, wildfires near or in the WUI occur on uplands and runoff generated from the burned area poses flooding risks in urban and agricultural zones located downstream. Post-fire management aims at reducing associated hazards as collapsing trees and erosion risk. Often the time interval between a major fire and the definition of priority sites is in the order of days-to-weeks since administrative procedures, financial estimates and implementation of post-fire salvage logging operations require time. Defining the magnitude of the burn scar and estimating its potential impact on runoff and erosion must therefore be done quickly. A post-fire burn severity, runoff and erosion model is a useful tool in estimating
Ebel, Brian A.
Wildfire can change how soils take in, store, and release water. This study examined differences in how burned and unburned plots on north versus south-facing slope aspects respond to rainfall. The largest wildfire impacts were litter/duff combustion on burned north-facing slopes versus soil-water retention reduction on burned south-facing slopes.Wildfire is one of the most significant disturbances in mountainous landscapes, affecting water supply and ecologic function and setting the stage for natural hazards such as flash floods. The impacts of wildfire can affect the entire hydrologic cycle. Measurements of soil-water content and matric potential in the near surface (top 30 cm) captured the hydrologic state in both burned and unburned hillslopes during the first spring through fall period (1 June–1 Oct. 2011) after the 2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire near Boulder, CO. This time span included different hydrologic periods characterized by cyclonic frontal storms (low-intensity, long duration), convective storms (high-intensity, short duration), and dry periods. In mountainous environments, aspect can also control hydrologic states, so north- vs. south-facing slopes were compared. Wildfire tended to homogenize soil-water contents across aspects and with depth in the soil, yet it also may have introduced an aspect control on matric potential that was not observed in unburned soils. Post-wildfire changes in hydrologic state were observed in south-facing soils, probably reflecting decreased soil-water retention after wildfire. North-facing soils were impacted the most, in terms of hydrologic state, by the loss of water storage in the combusted litter–duff layer and forest canopy, which had provided a large “hydrologic buffering” capacity when unburned. Unsaturated zone measurements showed increased variability in hydrologic states and more rapid state transitions in wildfire-impacted soils. A simple, qualitative analysis suggested that the range of unsaturated
G. N. Zaimes
Full Text Available For the most effective and efficient management of certain natural resources (e.g. protected areas and disasters (e.g. wildfires transboundary approaches are needed. In addition in the management of protected areas, the role of wildfire should be incorporated, something that was ignored in the past and led to catastrophic wildfires. The Black Sea is a region that wildfires in the protected areas are expected to increase. This has to do with the abandonment of rural areas and the higher temperatures, especially during summer, due to climate change. Interesting is also the fact that some countries of the region have extensive experience while other do not have neither the experience nor the necessary infrastructures to face large wildfires. A transboundary collaboration would be very beneficial to the countries with limited experiences and capacities to suppress wildfires. The objective of this study is to be proactive by developing innovative tools to help suppress wildfires and enhancing the knowledge on wildfires and protected areas. The innovative tools included 4 different research activities and products. Firstly, an online Digital Geodatabase for the six pilot areas was developed. Next forest fire fuels and maps were developed while a forest fire behavior model was run to create the overall fire risk maps for the pilot areas. To estimate water resources and watershed streamflows the hydrologic model SWAT was validated and calibrated for the pilot areas. The final activities included a multi-criteria decision analysis to select the optimal location of the water reservoirs and the use of spatial analyst to provide the optimal routes to reach reservoirs by the fire vehicles. To enhance the responsible agency personnel along with stakeholders knowledge of the region, a Neighborhood Network with regular quarterly meetings was established. Participants for all six project countries were present in the meetings. Overall, new tool that will enhance
David T. Butry; Jeffrey P. Prestemon; Douglas S. Thomas
The number of smoking-caused wildfires has been falling nationwide. In national forests in 2011, smoking-caused wildfires represented only 10% of their 1980 level. No other cause of wildfire has experienced this level of decline. For 12 states, we evaluate the rate of smoking-caused wildfires and find it is a function of weather, other ignitions, the number of adult...
The dynamics of spruce budworm (SBW) outbreaks and wildfires are expected to change as climatic change progresses. The effects of an altered, combined interaction between SBW and fire may be of greater importance than the individual effect of either on forest biomass production. The objectives of this study are to define current fire and SBW regimes in eastern Canada and relate the characteristics of each regime based upon climate model outputs for 2050 and 2100. The study also attempts to evaluate the impact of predicted changes in SBW and fire disturbance regimes on forest dynamics. The methodology used in the study included data from the Canadian Large Fire Database and historical records of SBW outbreaks. Spatial and environmental variables were presented along with climate models. The analysis was conducted using constrained ordination techniques, and canonical correspondence and redundancy analysis. Projected disturbance regimes were presented for both fire and SBW. The effects of the regimes on biomass productivity were also examined, using a Landscape Disturbance Simulator (LAD). It was concluded that this model will help evaluate the consequences of changes imposed by climatic change on both disturbances individually, as well as their interaction. 10 refs., 1 tab., 2 figs
Peter F. Ffolliott; Cody L. Stropki; Hui Chen; Daniel G. Neary
The Rodeo-Chediski Wildfire burned nearly 462,600 acres in north-central Arizona in the summer of 2002. The wildfire damaged or destroyed ecosystem resources and disrupted the hydrologic functioning within the impacted ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests in a largely mosaic pattern. Impacts of the wildfire on ecosystem resources, factors important to hydrologic...
Jesse B. Abrams
Full Text Available Prompted by a series of increasingly destructive, expensive, and highly visible wildfire crises in human communities across the globe, a robust body of scholarship has emerged to theorize, conceptualize, and measure community-level resilience to wildfires. To date, however, insufficient consideration has been given to wildfire resilience as a process of adaptive governance mediated by institutions at multiple scales. Here we explore the possibilities for addressing this gap through an analysis of wildfire resilience among wildland-urban interface communities in the western region of the United States. We re-engage important but overlooked components of social-ecological system resilience by situating rural communities within their state- to national-level institutional contexts; we then analyze two communities in Nevada and New Mexico in terms of their institutional settings and responses to recent wildfire events. We frame our analysis around the concepts of scale matching, linking within and across scales, and institutional flexibility.
Radeloff, Volker C; Helmers, David P; Kramer, H Anu; Mockrin, Miranda H; Alexandre, Patricia M; Bar-Massada, Avi; Butsic, Van; Hawbaker, Todd J; Martinuzzi, Sebastián; Syphard, Alexandra D; Stewart, Susan I
The wildland-urban interface (WUI) is the area where houses and wildland vegetation meet or intermingle, and where wildfire problems are most pronounced. Here we report that the WUI in the United States grew rapidly from 1990 to 2010 in terms of both number of new houses (from 30.8 to 43.4 million; 41% growth) and land area (from 581,000 to 770,000 km 2 ; 33% growth), making it the fastest-growing land use type in the conterminous United States. The vast majority of new WUI areas were the result of new housing (97%), not related to an increase in wildland vegetation. Within the perimeter of recent wildfires (1990-2015), there were 286,000 houses in 2010, compared with 177,000 in 1990. Furthermore, WUI growth often results in more wildfire ignitions, putting more lives and houses at risk. Wildfire problems will not abate if recent housing growth trends continue.
Wang, J.; Zhang, X.
Land surface phenology (LSP) characterizes seasonal dynamics of vegetation communities within a satellite pixel. The temporal variation of LSP has been widely associated with recent global climate change. However, few studies have focused on the influence of land disturbance, such as wildfire, on LSP variations, which is particularly true at a continental scale. Wildfire has increased in size and severity in the western United States (US) during last few decades. To explore wildfire impacts on LSP in the western US forest, we analyzed the start of growing season (SOS) integrated from the entire forest area, the burned area, and the unburned area, respectively. Specifically, SOS was derived from time series of daily MODIS surface reflectance product at 250 m using a hybrid piecewise logistic detection model. The annual burn perimeters during 2000-2014 were obtained from Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity maps to study the wildfire effect on the SOS in the subsequent years (2001-2015). The wildfire effect was analyzed at three levels: the entire western US, Environmental Protection Agency's Level III ecoregions, and states. Results show that wildfires basically advance SOS but have diverse effects with different regions and years. Comparing SOS in the burned areas with that in surrounding unburned areas from 2001-2015, it was found that the SOS shift was -3.4 days (-: earlier; +: later) on average in the western US forests, and varied from -16.1 to 13.1 days across ecoregions and from -11.4 to 4.3 days across states. Because of the small proportion of annual burned areas (SOS shift in the burned areas had limited influences on the overall SOS, which caused shifts of -0.06 days over the entire western US, from -0.2 to 0.2 days across ecoregions, and -0.06 to 0.13 days across states. Overall, this study demonstrates that wildfires strongly impact SOS at local areas although the effect in the large region is relatively limited.
Arkle, Robert S.; Pilliod, David S.; Welty, Justin L.
We examined the effects of three early season (spring) prescribed fires on burn severity patterns of summer wildfires that occurred 1–3 years post-treatment in a mixed conifer forest in central Idaho. Wildfire and prescribed fire burn severities were estimated as the difference in normalized burn ratio (dNBR) using Landsat imagery. We used GIS derived vegetation, topography, and treatment variables to generate models predicting the wildfire burn severity of 1286–5500 30-m pixels within and around treated areas. We found that wildfire severity was significantly lower in treated areas than in untreated areas and significantly lower than the potential wildfire severity of the treated areas had treatments not been implemented. At the pixel level, wildfire severity was best predicted by an interaction between prescribed fire severity, topographic moisture, heat load, and pre-fire vegetation volume. Prescribed fire severity and vegetation volume were the most influential predictors. Prescribed fire severity, and its influence on wildfire severity, was highest in relatively warm and dry locations, which were able to burn under spring conditions. In contrast, wildfire severity peaked in cooler, more mesic locations that dried later in the summer and supported greater vegetation volume. We found considerable evidence that prescribed fires have landscape-level influences within treatment boundaries; most notable was an interaction between distance from the prescribed fire perimeter and distance from treated patch edges, which explained up to 66% of the variation in wildfire severity. Early season prescribed fires may not directly target the locations most at risk of high severity wildfire, but proximity of these areas to treated patches and the discontinuity of fuels following treatment may influence wildfire severity and explain how even low severity treatments can be effective management tools in fire-prone landscapes.
Patricia A. Champ; Geoffrey H. Donovan; Christopher M. Barth
The loss of homes to wildfires is an important issue in the USA and other countries. Yet many homeowners living in fire-prone areas do not undertake mitigating actions, such as clearing vegetation, to decrease the risk of losing their home. To better understand the complexity of wildfire risk-mitigation decisions and the role of perceived risk, we conducted a survey of...
Dunham, M. E.; Osterberg, E. C.; Kehrwald, N. M.; Kennedy, J.; Ferris, D. G.
Glaciers in southeast Alaska are significant contributors to global sea-level rise, and therefore understanding the mechanisms driving their recent mass loss is crucial for predicting future sea-level change. Fire activity in Alaska has increased dramatically during the last decade, adding a potential new source of light-absorbing organic material (soot) to the Juneau Icefield that can reduce albedo and enhance surface melt rates. The goal of this project is to create an accurate record of Alaskan wildfires to understand how Alaskan glacial mass balance is affected by the deposition of organic aerosols from wildfires. Previously, oxalate, ammonia, and potassium ion levels have been used as proxies for past wildfire activity, but these ions all have broader emission sources in addition to wildfires. Here we develop a record of past Alaskan fire events and climate from: (1) levels of a biomass burning indicator, levoglucosan, which only forms when cellulose is burned over 300 °C, (2) major ions including oxalate, ammonia, and potassium; (3) the number and size distribution of particles to quantify trace amounts of soot from wildfires; and (4) stable water isotope ratios as a proxy for past temperature in ice cores. We utilize a total of four shallow ice cores, ranging from 7 to 9 m in length, that were collected by a biogeochemistry team during the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) in 2016. Complications include our limited understanding of the conservation and degradation of levoglucosan over time or during the firnification process. We hypothesize that particle counts will be correlated with levoglucosan peaks, co-varying with wildfire frequency and temperatures over time. Based on previous work, we also expect to find correlations between levoglucosan and oxalate ion concentrations, even though oxalate ions have sources in addition to wildfire activity.
Roy, Manojit; Zinck, Richard D.; Bouma, Menno J.; Pascual, Mercedes
Cholera is on the rise globally, especially epidemic cholera which is characterized by intermittent and unpredictable outbreaks that punctuate periods of regional disease fade-out. These epidemic dynamics remain however poorly understood. Here we examine records for epidemic cholera over both contemporary and historical timelines, from Africa (1990-2006) and former British India (1882-1939). We find that the frequency distribution of outbreak size is fat-tailed, scaling approximately as a power-law. This pattern which shows strong parallels with wildfires is incompatible with existing cholera models developed for endemic regions, as it implies a fundamental role for stochastic transmission and local depletion of susceptible hosts. Application of a recently developed forest-fire model indicates that epidemic cholera dynamics are located above a critical phase transition and propagate in similar ways to aggressive wildfires. These findings have implications for the effectiveness of control measures and the mechanisms that ultimately limit the size of outbreaks.
Mitsopoulos, Ioannis; Mallinis, Giorgos; Arianoutsou, Margarita
The purpose of this study was to assess spatial wildfire risk in a typical Mediterranean wildland-urban interface (WUI) in Greece and the potential effect of three different burning condition scenarios on the following four major wildfire risk components: burn probability, conditional flame length, fire size, and source-sink ratio. We applied the Minimum Travel Time fire simulation algorithm using the FlamMap and ArcFuels tools to characterize the potential response of the wildfire risk to a range of different burning scenarios. We created site-specific fuel models of the study area by measuring the field fuel parameters in representative natural fuel complexes, and we determined the spatial extent of the different fuel types and residential structures in the study area using photointerpretation procedures of large scale natural color orthophotographs. The results included simulated spatially explicit fire risk components along with wildfire risk exposure analysis and the expected net value change. Statistical significance differences in simulation outputs between the scenarios were obtained using Tukey's significance test. The results of this study provide valuable information for decision support systems for short-term predictions of wildfire risk potential and inform wildland fire management of typical WUI areas in Greece.
Mitsopoulos, Ioannis; Mallinis, Giorgos; Arianoutsou, Margarita
The purpose of this study was to assess spatial wildfire risk in a typical Mediterranean wildland-urban interface (WUI) in Greece and the potential effect of three different burning condition scenarios on the following four major wildfire risk components: burn probability, conditional flame length, fire size, and source-sink ratio. We applied the Minimum Travel Time fire simulation algorithm using the FlamMap and ArcFuels tools to characterize the potential response of the wildfire risk to a range of different burning scenarios. We created site-specific fuel models of the study area by measuring the field fuel parameters in representative natural fuel complexes, and we determined the spatial extent of the different fuel types and residential structures in the study area using photointerpretation procedures of large scale natural color orthophotographs. The results included simulated spatially explicit fire risk components along with wildfire risk exposure analysis and the expected net value change. Statistical significance differences in simulation outputs between the scenarios were obtained using Tukey's significance test. The results of this study provide valuable information for decision support systems for short-term predictions of wildfire risk potential and inform wildland fire management of typical WUI areas in Greece.
Taufik, Muh; Torfs, Paul J. J. F.; Uijlenhoet, Remko; Jones, Philip D.; Murdiyarso, Daniel; van Lanen, Henny A. J.
Borneo's diverse ecosystems, which are typical humid tropical conditions, are deteriorating rapidly, as the area is experiencing recurrent large-scale wildfires, affecting atmospheric composition and influencing regional climate processes. Studies suggest that climate-driven drought regulates wildfires, but these overlook subsurface processes leading to hydrological drought, an important driver. Here, we show that models which include hydrological processes better predict area burnt than those solely based on climate data. We report that the Borneo landscape has experienced a substantial hydrological drying trend since the early twentieth century, leading to progressive tree mortality, more severe than in other tropical regions. This has caused massive wildfires in lowland Borneo during the past two decades, which we show are clustered in years with large areas of hydrological drought coinciding with strong El Niño events. Statistical modelling evidence shows amplifying wildfires and greater area burnt in response to El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) strength, when hydrology is considered. These results highlight the importance of considering hydrological drought for wildfire prediction, and we recommend that hydrology should be considered in future studies of the impact of projected ENSO strength, including effects on tropical ecosystems, and biodiversity conservation.
EPA and partners are looking at ways to use miniature sensors to monitor air quality near wildfires. Data from these small sensors can complement measurements obtained from more complex regulatory-grade monitors that are stationary.
Jeff Kline; Alan A. Ager; Paige Fischer
The need for improved methods for managing wildfire risk is becoming apparent as uncharacteristically large wildfires in the western US and elsewhere exceed government capacities for their control and suppression. We propose a coupled biophysical-social framework to managing wildfire risk that relies on wildfire simulation to identify spatial patterns of wildfire risk...
Hand, Michael S; Wibbenmeyer, Matthew J; Calkin, David E; Thompson, Matthew P
Wildfires present a complex applied risk management environment, but relatively little attention has been paid to behavioral and cognitive responses to risk among public agency wildfire managers. This study investigates responses to risk, including probability weighting and risk aversion, in a wildfire management context using a survey-based experiment administered to federal wildfire managers. Respondents were presented with a multiattribute lottery-choice experiment where each lottery is defined by three outcome attributes: expenditures for fire suppression, damage to private property, and exposure of firefighters to the risk of aviation-related fatalities. Respondents choose one of two strategies, each of which includes "good" (low cost/low damage) and "bad" (high cost/high damage) outcomes that occur with varying probabilities. The choice task also incorporates an information framing experiment to test whether information about fatality risk to firefighters alters managers' responses to risk. Results suggest that managers exhibit risk aversion and nonlinear probability weighting, which can result in choices that do not minimize expected expenditures, property damage, or firefighter exposure. Information framing tends to result in choices that reduce the risk of aviation fatalities, but exacerbates nonlinear probability weighting. © 2015 Society for Risk Analysis.
West, Amanda; Kumar, Sunil; Jarnevich, Catherine S.
Regional analysis of large wildfire potential given climate change scenarios is crucial to understanding areas most at risk in the future, yet wildfire models are not often developed and tested at this spatial scale. We fit three historical climate suitability models for large wildfires (i.e. ≥ 400 ha) in Colorado andWyoming using topography and decadal climate averages corresponding to wildfire occurrence at the same temporal scale. The historical models classified points of known large wildfire occurrence with high accuracies. Using a novel approach in wildfire modeling, we applied the historical models to independent climate and wildfire datasets, and the resulting sensitivities were 0.75, 0.81, and 0.83 for Maxent, Generalized Linear, and Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines, respectively. We projected the historic models into future climate space using data from 15 global circulation models and two representative concentration pathway scenarios. Maps from these geospatial analyses can be used to evaluate the changing spatial distribution of climate suitability of large wildfires in these states. April relative humidity was the most important covariate in all models, providing insight to the climate space of large wildfires in this region. These methods incorporate monthly and seasonal climate averages at a spatial resolution relevant to land management (i.e. 1 km2) and provide a tool that can be modified for other regions of North America, or adapted for other parts of the world.
Full Text Available Many regions of the world suffer loss of vegetation and reduced air quality due to wildfires. Studies on aerosol emissions by wildfires often discuss the negative effects of atmospheric contaminants from a regional or mesoscale perspective. The occurrence of wildfires reveals that a high percentage takes place close to large urban areas. Very high concentration of pollutants and PM10 particulate matter reach urban zones and millions of inhabitants. These events of high pollutant concentrations are seasonally recurrent. There are many large urban areas in the world that often undergo severe air deterioration due to wildfires smoke. We document the extreme impact of wildfire that occurs in the Protected Area of Flora and Fauna La Primavera located in neighborhood of Guadalajara, a large urban zone in Mexico. The simultaneous emissions of aerosols by 60 wildfires were simulated and compared with observed data. The plume generated by the wildfires reached large areas of the central part of Mexico. The principal characteristics of smog emissions (CO, NO2, and PM10 over the urban area were acceptably reproduced. Observed and modeled CO, PM10, and NO2 data indicated that aerosol plumes generated by the wildfires increased notably the concentrations over the metropolitan zone of Guadalajara.
Pereira, P.; Ubeda, X.; Martin, D. A.
Carbon (C) and Nitrogen(N) are key nutrients in ecosystems health and the more affected by fire temperatures, because of their low temperatures of volatilization. After a wildfire, due higher temperatures reached, a great amount of C and N can be evacuated from the ecosystems and the percentage of C and N not vaporized is concentrated in ashes. Hence, the study of ash C and N is of major importance because will be linked with the capacity of ecosystem recuperation. The aim of this work is study the C, and C/N of three wildfires occurred in Mediterranean forests dominated by Quercus suber and Pinus pinea in Portugal. In the first wildfire, named "Quinta do Conde", we collected 30 samples, in the second, "Quinta da Areia", 32 samples and the third, "Casal do Sapo" 40 samples To estimate the consequences of wildfires in the parameters in study, we collected several samples of unburned litter near burned areas, composed by the same vegetation. The results showed that wildfires induced in % of Total Carbon (%TC) ashes content a non significantly reduction in Quinta do Conde plot (at a pPinus pinaster samples decreasing thereafter especially after the 400°C. In %TN we identified a rise in both species reducing abruptly at 450°C. C/N ratio decrease importantly after the 150°C. Theses results showed us that wildfires can have different effects C and N litter resources, depending on the severity and temperature reached. Crossing the results obtained in laboratory simulations with the samples collected in wildfires we will have an idea about the severity and temperature occurred in each wildfire. Overall, the lower severity were observed in Quinta do Conde plot and the higher in Casal do Sapo plot, being Quinta da Areia in a middle position. The C and N levels after a wildfire will determine the capacity of landscape recuperation and according the data obtained this will be higher in Quinta do Conde plot and lesser in Casal do Sapo plot. These hypothesis will be confirmed
Puig-Gironès, Roger; Brotons, Lluís; Pons, Pere
Wildfires play a determining role in the composition and structure of many plant and animal communities. On the other hand, climate change is considered to be a major driver of current and future fire regime changes. Despite increases in drought in many areas of the world, the effects of aridity on post-fire colonization by animals have been rarely addressed. This study aims to analyse how a regional aridity gradient affects post-fire recovery of vegetation, bird species richness and the numbers of four early to middle-successional warbler species associated with the shrub cover. The database contains bird relative abundance and environmental variables from 3072 censuses in 695 transects located in 70 recently burnt areas (1 to 11 years after wildfire) in Catalonia (Spain), which were sampled between 2006 and 2013. Generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) showed that plant cover was affected by time since fire, aridity and forest management. However, only the highest vegetation height layer (>100 cm) recovered slower in arid areas after fire. Time since fire positively influenced bird species richness and the relative abundance of the four focal species. The post-fire recovery of Melodious (Hippolais polyglotta) and Subalpine warblers (Sylvia cantillans) was hampered by aridity. Although this was not demonstrated for Dartford (S. undata) and Sardinian warblers (S. melanocephala), their occurrence was low in the driest areas during the first three years after fire. Overall, this study suggests that future increases in aridity can affect plant regeneration after fire and slow down the recovery of animal populations that depend on understorey and shrublands. Given the recently highlighted increases in aridity and fire frequency in Mediterranean-climate regions, improved knowledge on how aridity affects ecological succession is especially necessary.
Shruti Agrawal; Martha C. Monroe
Communities with more social capital are better able to work together to cope with problems such as a wildfire threat. This study found a positive relationship between perceiving greater social capital and participating in wildfire preparedness educational programs. Results suggest that managers can take advantage of existing social capital in communities to improve...
Alan A. Ager; Jeffrey D. Kline; A. Paige Fisher
We describe recent advances in biophysical and social aspects of risk and their potential combined contribution to improve mitigation planning on fire-prone landscapes. The methods and tools provide an improved method for defining the spatial extent of wildfire risk to communities compared to current planning processes. They also propose an expanded role for social...
Nichols, K.; Schoenberg, F.P.; Keeley, J.E.; Bray, A.; Diez, D.
A method for summarizing repeated realizations of a space-time marked point process, known as prototyping, is discussed and applied to catalogues of wildfires in California. Prototype summaries are constructed for varying time intervals using California wildfire data from 1990 to 2006. Previous work on prototypes for temporal and space-time point processes is extended here to include methods for computing prototypes with marks and the incorporation of prototype summaries into hierarchical clustering algorithms, the latter of which is used to delineate fire seasons in California. Other results include summaries of patterns in the spatial-temporal distribution of wildfires within each wildfire season. ?? 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Altintas, I.; Sale, J.; Block, J.; Cowart, C.; Crawl, D.
A major challenge for the geoscience community is the training and education of current and next generation big data geoscientists. In wildfire research, there are an increasing number of tools, middleware and techniques to use for data science related to wildfires. The necessary computing infrastructures are often within reach and most of the software tools for big data are freely available. But what has been lacking is a transparent platform and training program to produce data science experts who can use these integrated tools effectively. Scientists well versed to take advantage of big data technologies in geoscience applications is of critical importance to the future of research and knowledge advancement. To address this critical need, we are developing learning modules to teach process-based thinking to capture the value of end-to-end systems of reusable blocks of knowledge and integrate the tools and technologies used in big data analysis in an intuitive manner. WIFIRE is an end-to-end cyberinfrastructure for dynamic data-driven simulation, prediction and visualization of wildfire behavior.To this end, we are openly extending an environment we have built for "big data training" (biobigdata.ucsd.edu) to similar MOOC-based approaches to the wildfire community. We are building an environment that includes training modules for distributed platforms and systems, Big Data concepts, and scalable workflow tools, along with other basics of data science including data management, reproducibility and sharing of results. We also plan to provide teaching modules with analytical and dynamic data-driven wildfire behavior modeling case studies which address the needs not only of standards-based K-12 science education but also the needs of a well-educated and informed citizenry.Another part our outreach mission is to educate our community on all aspects of wildfire research. One of the most successful ways of accomplishing this is through high school and undergraduate
Armando González-Cabán; Thomas P. Holmes; John B. Loomis; José J. Sánchez
In this paper, we investigate homeowner preferences and willingness to pay for wildfire protection programs using a choice experiment with three attributes: risk, loss, and cost. A phone-mail-phone survey was used to collect data from homeowners predominantly living in medium and high wildfire risk communities in Florida. We tested three hypotheses: (1) homeowner...
John A. Moody; Richard A. Shakesby; Peter R. Robichaud; Susan H. Cannon; Deborah A. Martin
Research into post-wildfire effects began in the United Statesmore than 70 years ago and only later extended to other parts of the world. Post-wildfire responses are typically transient, episodic, variable in space and time, dependent on thresholds, and involve multiple processes measured by different methods. These characteristics tend to hinder research progress, but...
G. Matt Davies
Full Text Available Fire is widely used as a traditional habitat management tool in Scotland, but wildfires pose a significant and growing threat. The financial costs of fighting wildfires are significant and severe wildfires can have substantial environmental impacts. Due to the intermittent occurrence of severe fire seasons, Scotland, and the UK as a whole, remain somewhat unprepared. Scotland currently lacks any form of Fire Danger Rating system that could inform managers and the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS of periods when there is a risk of increased of fire activity. We aimed evaluate the potential to use outputs from the Canadian Fire Weather Index system (FWI system to forecast periods of increased fire risk and the potential for ignitions to turn into large wildfires. We collated four and a half years of wildfire data from the Scottish FRS and examined patterns in wildfire occurrence within different regions, seasons, between urban and rural locations and according to FWI system outputs. We used a variety of techniques, including Mahalanobis distances, percentile analysis and Thiel-Sen regression, to scope the best performing FWI system codes and indices. Logistic regression showed significant differences in fire activity between regions, seasons and between urban and rural locations. The Fine Fuel Moisture Code and the Initial Spread Index did a tolerable job of modelling the probability of fire occurrence but further research on fuel moisture dynamics may provide substantial improvements. Overall our results suggest it would be prudent to ready resources and avoid managed burning when FFMC > 75 and/or ISI > 2.
Davies, G Matt; Legg, Colin J
Fire is widely used as a traditional habitat management tool in Scotland, but wildfires pose a significant and growing threat. The financial costs of fighting wildfires are significant and severe wildfires can have substantial environmental impacts. Due to the intermittent occurrence of severe fire seasons, Scotland, and the UK as a whole, remain somewhat unprepared. Scotland currently lacks any form of Fire Danger Rating system that could inform managers and the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) of periods when there is a risk of increased of fire activity. We aimed evaluate the potential to use outputs from the Canadian Fire Weather Index system (FWI system) to forecast periods of increased fire risk and the potential for ignitions to turn into large wildfires. We collated four and a half years of wildfire data from the Scottish FRS and examined patterns in wildfire occurrence within different regions, seasons, between urban and rural locations and according to FWI system outputs. We used a variety of techniques, including Mahalanobis distances, percentile analysis and Thiel-Sen regression, to scope the best performing FWI system codes and indices. Logistic regression showed significant differences in fire activity between regions, seasons and between urban and rural locations. The Fine Fuel Moisture Code and the Initial Spread Index did a tolerable job of modelling the probability of fire occurrence but further research on fuel moisture dynamics may provide substantial improvements. Overall our results suggest it would be prudent to ready resources and avoid managed burning when FFMC > 75 and/or ISI > 2.
Hossack, B.R.; Pilliod, D.S.
The increased frequency and severity of large wildfires in the western United States is an important ecological and management issue with direct relevance to amphibian conservation. Although the knowledge of fire effects on amphibians in the region is still limited relative to most other vertebrate species, we reviewed the current literature to determine if there are evident patterns that might be informative for conservation or management strategies. Of the seven studies that compared pre- and post-wildfire data on a variety of metrics, ranging from amphibian occupancy to body condition, two reported positive responses and five detected negative responses by at least one species. Another seven studies used a retrospective approach to compare effects of wildfire on populations: two studies reported positive effects, three reported negative effects from wildfire, and two reported no effects. All four studies that included plethodontid salamanders reported negative effects on populations or individuals; these effects were greater in forests where fire had been suppressed and in areas that burned with high severity. Species that breed in streams are also vulnerable to post-wildfire changes in habitat, especially in the Southwest. Wildfire is also important for maintaining suitable habitat for diverse amphibian communities, although those results may not be evident immediately after an area burns. We expect that wildfire will extirpate few healthy amphibian populations, but it is still unclear how populations will respond to wildfire in the context of land management (including pre- and post-fire timber harvest) and fragmentation. Wildfire may also increase the risk of decline or extirpation for small, isolated, or stressed (e.g., from drought or disease) populations. Improved understanding of how these effects vary according to changes in fire frequency and severity are critical to form more effective conservation strategies for amphibians in the western United States.
C. J. Hennigan; M. A. Miracolo; G. J. Engelhart; A. A. May; Cyle Wold; WeiMin Hao; T. Lee; A. P. Sullivan; J. B. Gilman; W. C. Kuster; J. A. de Gouw; J. L. Collett; S. M. Kreidenweis; A. L. Robinson
Wildfires are a significant fraction of global biomass burning and a major source of trace gas and particle emissions in the atmosphere. Understanding the air quality and climate implications of wildfires is difficult since the emissions undergo complex transformations due to aging processes during transport away from the source. As part of the third Fire Lab at...
Timothy E. Reinhardt; Roger D. Ottmar
Smoke exposure measurements among firefighters at wildfires in the Western United States between 1992 and 1995 showed that altogether most exposures were not significant, between 3 and 5 percent of the shift-average exposures exceeded occupational exposure limits for carbon monoxide and respiratory irritants. Exposure to benzene and total suspended particulate was not...
Hedo de Santiago, Javier; Borja, Manuel Esteban Lucas; de las Heras, Jorge
Soils of semiarid Mediterranean forest ecosystems are very fragile and sensitive to changes due to different anthropogenic and natural disturbances. The increasing vulnerability of semiarid lands within this world framework has generated growing awareness in the field of research, with highly intensified study into soils properties. One of the main problems of Mediterranean forests is wildfire disturbance. Fire should be considered more an ecological factor but, in contrast to the role of fire, it is now a closely related factor to human action. On the other hand, to improve the recovery of forest communities after fire, silvicultural treatments are needed and, for that matter, another disturbance is added to the ecosystem. By last, climate change is also affecting the fire regime increasing fire frequency and burned area, enhancing the destructiveness to Mediterranean ecosystems. After all of these three disturbances, changes in vegetation dynamics and soil properties are expected to occur due to the plant-soil feedback. Soil plays an essential role in the forest ecosystem's fertility and stability and specifically soil microorganisms, which accomplish reactions to release soil nutrients for vegetation development, for that is essential to enlarge knowledge about soil properties resilience in semiarid forest ecosystems. Physico-chemical and microbiological soil properties, and enzyme activities have been studied in two Aleppo pine forest stands that have suffered three disturbances: 1) a wildfire event, 2) silvicultural treatments (thinning) and 3) an artificial drought (simulating climate change) and results showed that soil recovered after 15 years. Final results showed that soils have been recovered from the three disturbances at the medium-long term.
Jin, Yufang; Goulden, Michael L.; Faivre, Nicolas; Veraverbeke, Sander; Sun, Fengpeng; Hall, Alex; Hand, Michael S.; Hook, Simon; Randerson, James T.
The area burned by Southern California wildfires has increased in recent decades, with implications for human health, infrastructure, and ecosystem management. Meteorology and fuel structure are universally recognized controllers of wildfire, but their relative importance, and hence the efficacy of abatement and suppression efforts, remains controversial. Southern California’s wildfires can be partitioned by meteorology: fires typically occur either during Santa Ana winds (SA fires) in October through April, or warm and dry periods in June through September (non-SA fires). Previous work has not quantitatively distinguished between these fire regimes when assessing economic impacts or climate change influence. Here we separate five decades of fire perimeters into those coinciding with and without SA winds. The two fire types contributed almost equally to burned area, yet SA fires were responsible for 80% of cumulative 1990-2009 economic losses (3.1 Billion). The damage disparity was driven by fire characteristics: SA fires spread three times faster, occurred closer to urban areas, and burned into areas with greater housing values. Non-SA fires were comparatively more sensitive to age-dependent fuels, often occurred in higher elevation forests, lasted for extended periods, and accounted for 70% of total suppression costs. An improved distinction of fire type has implications for future projections and management. The area burned in non-SA fires is projected to increase 77% (±43%) by the mid-21st century with warmer and drier summers, and the SA area burned is projected to increase 64% (±76%), underscoring the need to evaluate the allocation and effectiveness of suppression investments.
Galanter, A.; Cadol, D. D.; Frey, B.; Lohse, K. A.
Large, high severity wildfires greatly alter forest structure, water quality, and soil development/erosion. With increased frequency of such wildfires also follows heavy post-wildfire debris flows and flooding which deliver high loads of sediment and pyrogenic black carbon (PyC) to downstream waterways. The accumulation of PyC is a multi-faceted and dynamic issue in the critical zone. Generated by incomplete combustion of organic matter, PyC (in the form of soot and char) impacts turbidity, biological and chemical oxygen demand, and pH. In addition, PyC has the potential to sequester contaminants and can store carbon over short and long timescales. The impacts of two recent wildfires in Northern New Mexico are studied with the goal of understanding the fluxes and residence times of PyC in post-wildfire, mountainous watersheds. Employing burn severity maps and geospatial data, we selected three sites to collect soil and water samples to characterize PyC: a control, an area impacted by a large, severe burn (2011), and an area impacted by a smaller, less severe burn (2013). By collaborating with researchers at the Jemez Critical Zone Observatory, soil samples are being analyzed and will provide pre-wildfire PyC concentrations for the 2013 burn area. In this study, PyC is treated as both a particulate and a solute that is transported throughout the watershed as well as degraded in soils, surface water and groundwater. We used two black carbon quantification methods: the chemo-thermal oxidation (CTO-375) method to distinguish between soil soot and char, and the benzene polycarboxylic acids (BPCA) method to quantify the total concentrations of PyC in soil and water samples. Preliminary soil data from the CTO-375 method show comparable soot concentrations in the control, 2011, and 2013 burn indicating that the soot is more recalcitrant than char and remains in the watershed long after a wildfire. This data also suggests that the fluxes of black carbon over short time
Navarro Abellan, Maria; Porras Alegre, Ignasi; María Sole, Josep; Gálvez, Pedro; Bielski, Conrad; Nurmi, Pertti
Society as a whole is increasingly exposed and vulnerable to natural disasters due to extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change. The increased frequency of wildfires is not only a result of a changing climate, but wildfires themselves also produce a significant amount of greenhouse gases that, in-turn, further contribute to global warming. I-REACT (Improving Resilience to Emergencies through Advanced Cyber Technologies) is an innovation project funded by the European Commission , which aims to use social media, smartphones and wearables to improve natural disaster management by integrating existing services, both local and European, into a platform that supports the entire emergency management cycle. In order to assess the impact of climate change on wildfire hazards, METEOSIM designed two different System Processes (SP) that will be integrated into the I-REACT service that can provide information on a variety of time scales. SP1 - Climate Change Impact The climate change impact on climate variables related to fires is calculated by building an ensemble based on the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) and CORDEX data. A validation and an Empirical-Statistical Downscaling (ESD) calibration are done to assess the changes in the past of the climatic variables related to wildfires (temperature, precipitation, wind, relative humidity and Fire Weather Index). Calculations in the trend and the frequency of extreme events of those variables are done for three time scales: near-term (2011-2040), mid-term (2041-2070) and long term (2071-2100). SP2 - Operational daily forecast of the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index (FWI) Using ensemble data from the ECMWF and from the GLAMEPS (multi-model ensemble) models, both supplied by the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), the Fire Weather Index (FWI) and its index components are produced for each ensemble member within a wide forecast time range, from a few hours up to 10 days resulting in a
Xuan Chen; Barry K. Goodwin; Jeffrey P. Prestemon
In the U.S. forest products industry, wildfire is one of the leading causes of damage and economic losses. While individual wildfire behavior is well studied, new literature is emerging on broad-scale (e.g., county-level) wildfire risks. Our paper studies wildfire risks using crucial informational variÂ ables across both spatio units and time periods....
Alcasena, Fermín J.; Salis, Michele; Ager, Alan A.; Arca, Bachisio; Molina, Domingo; Spano, Donatella
We used a fire simulation modeling approach to assess landscape scale wildfire exposure for highly valued resources and assets (HVR) on a fire-prone area of 680 km2 located in central Sardinia, Italy. The study area was affected by several wildfires in the last half century: some large and intense fire events threatened wildland urban interfaces as well as other socioeconomic and cultural values. Historical wildfire and weather data were used to inform wildfire simulations, which were based on the minimum travel time algorithm as implemented in FlamMap. We simulated 90,000 fires that replicated recent large fire events in the area spreading under severe weather conditions to generate detailed maps of wildfire likelihood and intensity. Then, we linked fire modeling outputs to a geospatial risk assessment framework focusing on buffer areas around HVR. The results highlighted a large variation in burn probability and fire intensity in the vicinity of HVRs, and allowed us to identify the areas most exposed to wildfires and thus to a higher potential damage. Fire intensity in the HVR buffers was mainly related to fuel types, while wind direction, topographic features, and historically based ignition pattern were the key factors affecting fire likelihood. The methodology presented in this work can have numerous applications, in the study area and elsewhere, particularly to address and inform fire risk management, landscape planning and people safety on the vicinity of HVRs.
Alcasena, Fermín J; Salis, Michele; Ager, Alan A; Arca, Bachisio; Molina, Domingo; Spano, Donatella
We used a fire simulation modeling approach to assess landscape scale wildfire exposure for highly valued resources and assets (HVR) on a fire-prone area of 680 km(2) located in central Sardinia, Italy. The study area was affected by several wildfires in the last half century: some large and intense fire events threatened wildland urban interfaces as well as other socioeconomic and cultural values. Historical wildfire and weather data were used to inform wildfire simulations, which were based on the minimum travel time algorithm as implemented in FlamMap. We simulated 90,000 fires that replicated recent large fire events in the area spreading under severe weather conditions to generate detailed maps of wildfire likelihood and intensity. Then, we linked fire modeling outputs to a geospatial risk assessment framework focusing on buffer areas around HVR. The results highlighted a large variation in burn probability and fire intensity in the vicinity of HVRs, and allowed us to identify the areas most exposed to wildfires and thus to a higher potential damage. Fire intensity in the HVR buffers was mainly related to fuel types, while wind direction, topographic features, and historically based ignition pattern were the key factors affecting fire likelihood. The methodology presented in this work can have numerous applications, in the study area and elsewhere, particularly to address and inform fire risk management, landscape planning and people safety on the vicinity of HVRs.
Thomas P. Holmes; John Loomis; Armando Gonzalez-Caban
People living in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) are at greater risk of suffering major losses of property and life from wildfires. Over the past several decades the prevailing view has been that wildfire risk in rural areas was exogenous to the activities of homeowners. In response to catastrophic fires in the WUI over the past few years, recent approaches to fire...
Veronique Florec; David Pannell; Michael Burton; Joel Kelso; Drew Mellor; George Milne
Wildfires can cause significant damage to ecosystems, life and property, and wildfire events that do not involve people and property are becoming rare. With the expansion of the ruralâ urban interface in Western Australia and elsewhere, objectives of life and property protection become more difficult to achieve. We applied the cost plus net value change (C+NVC) model...
Benali, Akli; López-Saldana, Gerardo; Russo, Ana; Sá, Ana C. L.; Pinto, Renata M. S.; Nikos, Koutsias; Owen, Price; Pereira, Jose M. C.
Large wildfires have important social, economic and environmental impacts. In order to minimize their impacts, understand their main drivers and study their dynamics, different approaches have been used. The reconstruction of individual wildfire events is usually done by collection of field data, interviews and by implementing fire spread simulations. All these methods have clear limitations in terms of spatial and temporal coverage, accuracy, subjectivity of the collected information and lack of objective independent validation information. In this sense, remote sensing is a promising tool with the potential to provide relevant information for stakeholders and the research community, by complementing or filling gaps in existing information and providing independent accurate quantitative information. In this work we show the potential of satellite data to provide relevant information regarding the dynamics of individual large wildfire events, filling an important gap in wildfire research. We show how MODIS active-fire data, acquired up to four times per day, and satellite-derived burnt perimeters can be combined to extract relevant information wildfire events by describing the methods involved and presenting results for four regions of the world: Portugal, Greece, SE Australia and California. The information that can be retrieved encompasses the start and end date of a wildfire event and its ignition area. We perform an evaluation of the information retrieved by comparing the satellite-derived parameters with national databases, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of both and showing how the former can complement the latter leading to more complete and accurate datasets. We also show how the spatio-temporal distribution of wildfire spread dynamics can be reconstructed using satellite-derived active-fires and how relevant descriptors can be extracted. Applying graph theory to satellite active-fire data, we define the major fire spread paths that yield
Brian E. Potter; Matthew A. Anaya
Convective instability can influence the behaviour of large wildfires. Because wildfires modify the temperature and moisture of air in their plumes, instability calculations using ambient conditions may not accurately represent convective potential for some fire plumes. This study used the North American Regional Reanalysis to develop a climatology of the convective...
Matthew P. Thompson; Jessica R. Haas; Julie W. Gilbertson-Day; Joe H. Scott; Paul Langowski; Elise Bowne; David E. Calkin
Applying wildfire risk assessment models can inform investments in loss mitigation and landscape restoration, and can be used to monitor spatiotemporal trends in risk. Assessing wildfire risk entails the integration of fire modeling outputs, maps of highly valued resources and assets (HVRAs), characterization of fire effects, and articulation of relative importance...
Michael S. Hand; Matthew P. Thompson; Dave Calkin
Increasing costs of wildfire management have highlighted the need to better understand suppression expenditures and potential tradeoffs of land management activities that may affect fire risks. Spatially and temporally descriptive data is used to develop a model of wildfire suppression expenditures, providing new insights into the role of spatial and temporal...
Peter R. Robichaud; William J. Elliot
Erosion in the first year after a wildfire can be up to three orders of magnitude greater than the erosion from undisturbed forests. To mitigate potential postfire erosion, various erosion control treatments are applied on highly erodible areas with downstream resources in need of protection. Because postfire erosion rates generally decline by an order of magnitude for...
Devisscher, Tahia; Malhi, Yadvinder; Rojas Landívar, Víctor Diego; Oliveras Menor, Imma
Wildfires in tropical forests are likely to become a more dominant disturbance due to future increasing feedbacks between rapid frontier expansion and more frequent droughts. This study evaluates the effects of fire recurrence on seasonally dry tropical forests of the Chiquitania region, located
Soren M. Newman; Matthew S. Carroll; Pamela J. Jakes; Daniel R. Williams; Lorie L. Higgins
Wildfire is one of several potential disturbances that could have extraordinary impacts on individuals and communities in fire-prone areas. In this article we describe disturbance risk perceptions from interviews with residents in three Florida communities that face significant wildfire and hurricane risk. Although they live in areas characterized by emergency managers...
Schaffrath, K. R.; Finch, C.; Belmont, P.; Budy, P.
Wildfires have profound and variable impacts on erosion, channel morphology, and aquatic habitat. Previous research has quantified post-fire geomorphic response on event and millennial timescales. While these studies have informed our understanding of post-fire geomorphic response during the Holocene, we have yet to fully understand the variability of post-wildfire geomorphic response and how it might change in response to changing climate. Response of aquatic biota is just as variable as post-wildfire response yet we know very little about effects on metapopulations and how management decisions affect aquatic populations. Barriers to movement are installed to isolate native fish populations and prescribed fire and thinning are used to try to reduce future wildfire severity and extent. In order to improve understanding of the implications of management decisions, we evaluated geomorphic response and synchronicity of wildfires over the Holocene relative to the impact to the metapopulation of Bonneville cutthroat trout from a recent wildfire. The Twitchell Canyon fire burned 45,000 acres near Beaver, UT in July 2010. Over 30% of the area burned at high severity, which included two major headwater streams that sustained a trout population. In summer 2011, monsoonal thunderstorms caused massive debris flows and sheetflow erosion that altered channel morphology and aquatic habitat in the burned area. A previously robust, non-native trout fishery was nearly extirpated as a result of the geomorphic response to the wildfire. We used radiocarbon dating of burned material to determine how often headwater streams burned synchronously over the Holocene. Radiocarbon dates are associated with field observations of stratigraphy in order to infer geomorphic response to historic wildfires. Thirty samples were collected from sediment layers in 10 alluvial fans distributed among three watersheds (two burned and one unburned in the 2010 fire). Preliminary results suggest that we
Coen, Janice L.; Douglas, Craig C.
Wildland fire behavior, particularly that of large, uncontrolled wildfires, has not been well understood or predicted. Our methodology to simulate this phenomenon uses high-resolution dynamic models made of numerical weather prediction (NWP) models
Kumar, Aditya; Wu, Shiliang; Huang, Yaoxian; Liao, Hong; Kaplan, Jed O.
We estimate the global Hg wildfire emissions for the 2000s and the potential impacts from the 2000-2050 changes in climate, land use and land cover and Hg anthropogenic emissions by combining statistical analysis with global data on vegetation type and coverage as well as fire activities. Global Hg wildfire emissions are estimated to be 612 Mg year-1. Africa is the dominant source region (43.8% of global emissions), followed by Eurasia (31%) and South America (16.6%). We find significant perturbations to wildfire emissions of Hg in the context of global change, driven by the projected changes in climate, land use and land cover and Hg anthropogenic emissions. 2000-2050 climate change could increase Hg emissions by 14% globally and regionally by 18% for South America, 14% for Africa and 13% for Eurasia. Projected changes in land use by 2050 could decrease the global Hg emissions from wildfires by 13% mainly driven by a decline in African emissions due to significant agricultural land expansion. Future land cover changes could lead to significant increases in Hg emissions over some regions (+32% North America, +14% Africa, +13% Eurasia). Potential enrichment of terrestrial ecosystems in 2050 in response to changes in Hg anthropogenic emissions could increase Hg wildfire emissions globally (+28%) and regionally (+19% North America, +20% South America, +24% Africa, +41% Eurasia). Our results indicate that the future evolution of climate, land use and land cover and Hg anthropogenic emissions are all important factors affecting Hg wildfire emissions in the coming decades.
Chen, Z.; Glasscoe, M. T.; Parker, J. W.
Wildfire events followed by heavy precipitation have been proven causally related to breakouts of mudflow or debris flow, which, can demand rapid evacuation and threaten residential communities and civil infrastructure. For example, in the case of the city of Glendora, California, it was first afflicted by a severe wildfire in 1968 and then the flooding caused mudslides and debris flow in 1969 killed 34 people. Therefore, burn area or vegetation loss mapping due to wildfire is critical to agencies for preparing for secondary hazards, particularly flooding and flooding induced mudflow. However, rapid post-wildfire mapping of vegetation loss mapping is not readily obtained by regular remote sensing methods, e.g. various optical methods, due to the presence of smoke, haze, and rainy/cloudy conditions that often follow a wildfire event. In this paper, we will introduce and develop a deep learning-based framework that uses Synthetic Aperture Radar images collected prior to and after a wildfire event. A convolutional neural network (CNN) approach will be used that replaces traditional principle component analysis (PCA) based differencing for non-supervised change feature extraction. Using a small sample of human-labeled burned vegetation, normal vegetation, and urban built-up pixels, we will compare the performance of deep learning and PCA-based feature extraction. The 2014 Coby Fire event, which affected the downstream city of Glendora, was used to evaluate the proposed framework. The NASA's UAVSAR data (https://uavsar.jpl.nasa.gov/) will be utilized for mapping the vegetation damage due to the Coby Fire event.
Salis, M.; Arca, B.; Ager, A.; Fois, C.; Bacciu, V.; Duce, P.; Spano, D.
Worldwide, fire seasons are usually characterized by the occurrence of one or more days with extreme environmental conditions, such as heat waves associated with strong winds. On these days, fires can quickly get out of hand originating large and severe wildfires. In these cases, containment and extinguishment phases are critical, considering that the imperative goal is to keep fire crews, people and animals safe. In this work we will present a set of large and severe wildfires occurred with extreme environmental conditions in the northern area of Sardinia. The most recent wildfire we will describe was ignited on July 13, 2011 in the Oschiri municipality (40°43' N; 9°06' E), and burned about 2,500 ha of wooded and herbaceous pastures and oakwoods in few hours. The second wildfire we will present was ignited on July 23, 2009 in the Bonorva municipality (40°25' N; 8° 46' E), and was responsible for the death of two people and several damages to houses, animals and farms. This wildfire lasted on July 25, and burned about 10,000 ha of wooded and herbaceous pastures; the most of the area was burned during the first day. The last wildfire we will describe was ignited on July 23, 2007 in the Oniferi municipality (40°16' N; 9° 16' E) and burned about 9,000 ha of wooded and herbaceous pastures and oakwoods; about 8,000 ha were burned after 11 hours of propagation. All these wildfires were ignited in days characterized by very hot temperatures associated to the effect of air masses moving from inland North Africa to the Mediterranean Basin, and strong winds from west-south west. This is one of the typical weather pattern associated with large and severe wildfires in North Sardinia, and is well documented in the last years. Weather conditions, fuels and topography factors related to each case study will be accurately analyzed. Moreover, a detailed overview of observed fire spread and behavior and post-fire vegetation recovery will be presented. The fire spread and
Michael S. Hand; Krista M. Gebert; Jingjing Liang; David E. Calkin; Matthew P. Thompson; Mo Zhou
In the United States, increased wildland fire activity over the last 15 years has resulted in increased pressure to balance the cost, benefits, and risks of wildfire management. Amid increased public scrutiny and a highly variable wildland fire environment, a substantial body of research has developed to study factors affecting the cost-effectiveness of wildfire...
Matthew P. Thompson; David E. Calkin; Mark A. Finney; Alan A. Ager; Julie W. Gilbertson-Day
The spatial, temporal, and social dimensions of wildfire risk are challenging U.S. federal land management agencies to meet societal needs while maintaining the health of the lands they manage. In this paper we present a quantitative, geospatial wildfire risk assessment tool, developed in response to demands for improved risk-based decision frameworks. The methodology...
Kalabokidis, Kostas; Ager, Alan; Finney, Mark; Athanasis, Nikos; Palaiologou, Palaiologos; Vasilakos, Christos
We describe a Web-GIS wildfire prevention and management platform (AEGIS) developed as an integrated and easy-to-use decision support tool to manage wildland fire hazards in Greece (http://aegis.aegean.gr). The AEGIS platform assists with early fire warning, fire planning, fire control and coordination of firefighting forces by providing online access to information that is essential for wildfire management. The system uses a number of spatial and non-spatial data sources to support key system functionalities. Land use/land cover maps were produced by combining field inventory data with high-resolution multispectral satellite images (RapidEye). These data support wildfire simulation tools that allow the users to examine potential fire behavior and hazard with the Minimum Travel Time fire spread algorithm. End-users provide a minimum number of inputs such as fire duration, ignition point and weather information to conduct a fire simulation. AEGIS offers three types of simulations, i.e., single-fire propagation, point-scale calculation of potential fire behavior, and burn probability analysis, similar to the FlamMap fire behavior modeling software. Artificial neural networks (ANNs) were utilized for wildfire ignition risk assessment based on various parameters, training methods, activation functions, pre-processing methods and network structures. The combination of ANNs and expected burned area maps are used to generate integrated output map of fire hazard prediction. The system also incorporates weather information obtained from remote automatic weather stations and weather forecast maps. The system and associated computation algorithms leverage parallel processing techniques (i.e., High Performance Computing and Cloud Computing) that ensure computational power required for real-time application. All AEGIS functionalities are accessible to authorized end-users through a web-based graphical user interface. An innovative smartphone application, AEGIS App, also
Homann, Peter S; Darbyshire, Robyn L; Bormann, Bernard T; Morrissette, Brett A
Soil is an important, dynamic component of regional and global mercury (Hg) cycles. This study evaluated how changes in forest soil Hg masses caused by atmospheric deposition and wildfire are affected by forest structure. Pre and postfire soil Hg measurements were made over two decades on replicate experimental units of three prefire forest structures (mature unthinned, mature thinned, clear-cut) in Douglas-fir dominated forest of southwestern Oregon. In the absence of wildfire, O-horizon Hg decreased by 60% during the 14 years after clearcutting, possibly the result of decreased atmospheric deposition due to the smaller-stature vegetative canopy; in contrast, no change was observed in mature unthinned and thinned forest. Wildfire decreased O-horizon Hg by >88% across all forest structures and decreased mineral-soil (0 to 66 mm depth) Hg by 50% in thinned forest and clear-cut. The wildfire-associated soil Hg loss was positively related to the amount of surface fine wood that burned during the fire, the proportion of area that burned at >700 °C, fire severity as indicated by tree mortality, and soil C loss. Loss of soil Hg due to the 200,000 ha wildfire was more than four times the annual atmospheric Hg emissions from human activities in Oregon.
Shad K. Mahlum; Lisa A. Eby; Michael K. Young; Chris G. Clancy; Mike Jakober
Wildfire is a common natural disturbance that can influence stream ecosystems. Of particular concern are increases in water temperature during and following fires, but studies of these phenomena are uncommon. We examined effects of wildfires in 2000 on maximum water temperature for a suite of second- to fourth-order streams with a range of burn severities in the...
George H. Mitri; Mireille G. Jazi; David McWethy
The increasing occurrence and extent of large-scale wildfires in the Mediterranean have been linked to extended periods of warm and dry weather. We set out to assess Lebanon's wildfire potential in association with current and future climatic conditions. The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) was the primary climate variable used in our evaluation of climate/fire...
D. Evan Mercer; Jeffrey P. Prestemon; David T. Butry; John M. Pye
We estimate a wildfire risk model with a new measure of wildfire output, intensity-weighted risk and use it in Monte Carlo simulations to estimate welfare changes from alternative prescribed burning policies. Using Volusia County, Florida as a case study, an annual prescribed burning rate of 13% of all forest lands maximizes net welfare; ignoring the effects on...
Richard A. Shakesby; John A. Moody; Deborah A. Martin; Pete Robichaud
Advances in research into wildfire impacts on runoff and erosion have demonstrated increasing complexity of controlling factors and responses, which, combined with changing fire frequency, present challenges for modellers. We convened a conference attended by experts and practitioners in post-wildfire impacts, meteorology and related research, including...
Roberts, Anthony J.; Boal, Clint W.; Whitlaw, Heather A.
We studied the response of nesting grassland birds occupying short-grass and mixed-grass prairie sites 2 and 3 y following two, large-scale wildfires that burned ≥360,000 ha in the Texas Panhandle in March 2006. Nest success was greater on burned plots compared to unburned plots, though this varied by species and year. Woody vegetation cover was greater around nests on unburned plots compared to burned plots for Cassin's sparrow (Peucaea cassinii) and lark sparrow (Chondestes grammacus). Cassin's sparrows and lark sparrows nested in more-woody vegetation than did grasshopper sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum), and woody vegetation was reduced following the wildfires. The wildfires appear to have had few if any negative influences on the avian community 3 years postfire. This may be due to grassland breeding birds being adapted to landscapes in which, historically, periodic disturbance (e.g., wildfire, intensive grazing by bison [Bison bison]) resulted in vegetation heterogeneity.
Full Text Available Aim of study: The goal of this paper is to analyse the importance of the main contributing factors to the occurrence of wildfires. Area of study: We employ data from the region of Galicia during 2001-2010; although the similarities shared between this area and other rural areas may allow extrapolation of the present results. Material and Methods: The spatial dependence is analysed by using the Moran’s I and LISA statistics. We also conduct an econometric analysis modelling both, the number of fires and the relative size of afflicted woodland area as dependent variables, which depend on the climatic, land cover variables, and socio-economic characteristics of the affected areas. Fixed effects and random effect models are estimated in order to control for the heterogeneity between the Forest Districts in Galicia. Main results: Moran’s I and LISA statistics show that there is spatial dependence in the occurrence of Galician wildfires. Econometrics models show that climatology, socioeconomic variables, and temporal trends are also important to study both, the number of wildfires and the burned-forest ratio. Research highlights: We conclude that in addition to direct forest actions, other agricultural or social public plans, can help to reduce wildfires in rural areas or wildland-urban areas. Based on these conclusions, a number of guidelines are provided that may foster the development of better forest management policies in order to reduce the occurrence of wildfires.
Lu, Xiao; Zhang, Lin; Zhao, Yuanhong; Yue, Xu
Wildfires are important sources of ozone by emitting large amounts of NOx and NMVOC, main ozone precursors at both global and regional scales. Their influences on ozone in the U.S. Intermountain West have recently received much interest because surface ozone concentrations over that region showed an increasing trend in the past two decades likely due to increasing wildfire emissions in a warming climate. Here we use the Lagrangian particle dispersion model (FLEXPART) as well as the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model to estimate wildfires' contribution on summer (June, July and August; JJA) ozone concentration variations, trends, and extremely high ozone events over the US Intermountain West for the past 22 years (1989-2010). We combine the resident time estimated from the FLEXPART 5-day backward trajectories and a high-resolution fire inventory to define a fire index representing the impact of wildfires on ozone concentration at a particular site for each day of summers 1989-2010. Over 26,000 FLEXPART back-trajectories are conducted for the whole time period and for 13 CASTNet surface monitoring sites. We build a stepwise multiple linear regression (SMLR) model of daily ozone concentrations using fire index and other meteorological variables for each site. The SMLR models explain 53% of the ozone variations (ranging from 12% to 68% for each site). We show that ozone produced from wildfires (calculated from SMLR model) are of high variability at daily scale (ranging from 0.1 ppbv to 20.7 ppbv), but are averaged to lower values of about 0.25-3.5 ppbv for summer mean. We estimate that wildfires magnify inter-annual variations of the regional mean summer ozone for about 32%, compared to the result with wildfires impact excluded from the SMLR model. Wildfire ozone enhancements increase at a rate of 0.04 ppbv per year, accouting for about 20% of the regional summer ozone trend during 1989-2010. Removing wildfires' impact would reduce 35% (46%) of the high-ozone days with
Bossert, James E.; Harlow, Francis H.; Linn, Rodman R.; Reisner, Jon M.; White, Andrew B.; Winterkamp, Judith L.
Over the past two years, researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have been engaged in coupled weather/wildfire modeling as part of a broader initiative to predict the unfolding of crisis events. Wildfire prediction was chosen for the following reasons: (1) few physics-based wild-fire prediction models presently exist; (2) LANL has expertise in the fields required to develop such a capability; and (3) the development of this predictive capability would be enhanced by LANL`s strength in high performance computing. Wildfire behavior models have historically been used to predict fire spread and heat release for a prescribed set of fuel, slope, and wind conditions (Andrews 1986). In the vicinity of a fire, however, atmospheric conditions are constantly changing due to non-local weather influences and the intense heat of the fire itself. This non- linear process underscores the need for physics-based models that treat the atmosphere-fire feedback. Actual wildfire prediction with full-physics models is both time-critical and computationally demanding, since it must include regional- to local-scale weather forecasting together with the capability to accurately simulate both intense gradients across a fireline, and atmosphere/fire/fuel interactions. Los Alamos has recently (January 1997) acquired a number of SGI/Cray Origin 2000 machines, each presently having 32 to 64 processors. These high performance computing systems are part of the Department of Energy`s Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI). While offering impressive performance now, upgrades to the system promise to deliver over 1 Teraflop (10(12) floating point operations per second) at peak performance before the turn of the century.
Van Linn, Peter F.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Esque, Todd C.; DeFalco, Lesley A.; Inman, Richard D.; Abella, Scott R.
Predicting wildfires that affect broad landscapes is important for allocating suppression resources and guiding land management. Wildfire prediction in the south-western United States is of specific concern because of the increasing prevalence and severe effects of fire on desert shrublands and the current lack of accurate fire prediction tools. We developed a fire risk model to predict fire occurrence in a north-eastern Mojave Desert landscape. First we developed a spatial model using remote sensing data to predict fuel loads based on field estimates of fuels. We then modelled fire risk (interactions of fuel characteristics and environmental conditions conducive to wildfire) using satellite imagery, our model of fuel loads, and spatial data on ignition potential (lightning strikes and distance to roads), topography (elevation and aspect) and climate (maximum and minimum temperatures). The risk model was developed during a fire year at our study landscape and validated at a nearby landscape; model performance was accurate and similar at both sites. This study demonstrates that remote sensing techniques used in combination with field surveys can accurately predict wildfire risk in the Mojave Desert and may be applicable to other arid and semiarid lands where wildfires are prevalent.
Guo, Song; Leighton, H.
The British Columbia wildfires of 2004 was one of the largest wildfire events in the last ten years in Canada. Both the shortwave and longwave smoke aerosol radiative forcing at the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) are investigated using data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments. Relationships between the radiative forcing fluxes (??F) and wildfire aerosol optical thickness (AOT) at 0.55 ??m (??0.55) are deduced for both noontime instantaneous forcing and diurnally averaged forcing. The noontime averaged instantaneous shortwave and longwave smoke aerosol radiative forcing at the TOA are 45.8??27.5 W m-2 and -12.6??6.9 W m-2, respectively for a selected study area between 62??N and 68??N in latitude and 125??W and 145??W in longitude over three mainly clear-sky days (23-25 June). The derived diurnally averaged smoke aerosol shortwave radiative forcing is 19.9??12.1 W m-2 for a mean ??0.55 of 1.88??0.71 over the same time period. The derived ??F-?? relationship can be implemented in the radiation scheme used in regional climate models to assess the effect of wildfire aerosols.
Full Text Available In wildfire science, spotting refers to non-local creation of new fires, due to downwind ignition of brands launched from a primary fire. Spotting is often mentioned as being one of the most difficult problems for wildfire management, because of its unpredictable nature. Since spotting is a stochastic process, it makes sense to talk about a probability distribution for spotting, which we call the spotting distribution. Given a location ahead of the fire front, we would like to know how likely is it to observe a spot fire at that location in the next few minutes. The aim of this paper is to introduce a detailed procedure to find the spotting distribution. Most prior modelling has focused on the maximum spotting distance, or on physical subprocesses. We will use mathematical modelling, which is based on detailed physical processes, to derive a spotting distribution. We discuss the use and measurement of this spotting distribution in fire spread, fire management and fire breaching. The appendix of this paper contains a comprehensive review of the relevant underlying physical sub-processes of fire plumes, launching fire brands, wind transport, falling and terminal velocity, combustion during transport, and ignition upon landing.
Balsa-Barreiro, J.; Hermosilla, T.
Aim of study: To propose a methodology to establish motivations underlying wildland fire episodes by analyzing both the socioeconomics of the affected territory and the geographical distribution of the wildfire. Area of study: The wildfires occurred during 2006 in Galicia, in the NW of Spain, were analyzed and compared regard to the previous years. Material and methods: The proposed methodology in this study is divided into four steps: (a) definition of the forest context, (b) fire episode and socioeconomic data collection, (c) geospatial representation through map production, and (d) joint analysis and data interpretation. A combined analysis of the spatial and temporal coincidence of wildfire and the socioeconomic activities is performed. Main results: A combined analysis of the spatial and temporal coincidence of wildfire dynamics and the socioeconomic activities allow us to assess and to interpret wildfire causes and motivations of socioeconomic groups. In our area study, a broad analysis indicates that wildfire recurrence within this region is related to an accelerated rural flight process which exacerbates the conflict between rural and urban models. Research highlights: The socio-geographical analysis of a territory's wildfire dynamics enables us to establish possible causes and motivations of their origins. Providing the specific contextual and socioeconomic information, this methodology has potential applicability across varied study locations. (Author)
William H. Cooke; Georgy V. Mostovoy; Valentine G. Anantharaj; W. Matt Jolly
A relationship between the likelihood of wildfires and various drought metrics (soil moisture-based fire potential indices) were examined over the southern part of Mississippi. The following three indices were tested and used to simulate spatial and temporal wildfire probability changes: (1) the accumulated difference between daily precipitation and potential...
Tom Holmes; Armando Gonzalez-Caban; John Loomis; Jose Sanchez
In this paper, we investigate homeowner preferences and willingness to pay for wildfire protection programs using a choice experiment with three attributes: risk, loss and cost. Preference heterogeneity among survey respondents was examined using three econometric models and risk preferences were evaluated by comparing willingness to pay for wildfire protection...
Full Text Available A technology able to rapidly forecast wildfire dynamics would lead to a paradigm shift in the response to emergencies, providing the Fire Service with essential information about the ongoing fire. This paper presents and explores a novel methodology to forecast wildfire dynamics in wind-driven conditions, using real-time data assimilation and inverse modelling. The forecasting algorithm combines Rothermel's rate of spread theory with a perimeter expansion model based on Huygens principle and solves the optimisation problem with a tangent linear approach and forward automatic differentiation. Its potential is investigated using synthetic data and evaluated in different wildfire scenarios. The results show the capacity of the method to quickly predict the location of the fire front with a positive lead time (ahead of the event in the order of 10 min for a spatial scale of 100 m. The greatest strengths of our method are lightness, speed and flexibility. We specifically tailor the forecast to be efficient and computationally cheap so it can be used in mobile systems for field deployment and operativeness. Thus, we put emphasis on producing a positive lead time and the means to maximise it.
Michael Hand; Hari Katuwal; David E. Calkin; Matthew P. Thompson
Despite large commitments of personnel and equipment to wildfire suppression, relatively little is known about the factors that affect how many resources are ordered and assigned to wildfire incidents and the variation in resources across incident management teams (IMTs). Using detailed data on suppression resource assignments for IMTs managing the highest complexity...
Sonya Sachdeva; Sarah M. McCaffrey; Dexter Locke
Wildfires have significant effects on human populations, economically, environmentally, and in terms of their general wellbeing. Smoke pollution, in particular, from either prescribed burns or uncontrolled wildfires, can have significant health impacts. Some estimates suggest that smoke dispersion from fire events may affect the health of one in three residents in the...
Ghavidel, Yousef; Farajzadeh, Manuchehr; Khaleghi Babaei, Meysam
In this paper, atmospheric origins of the widest wildfire in Mazandaran province on 11-13th of December, 2010 have been investigated. Data sets of this research include maximum daily temperature (MDT), minimum relative humidity (MRH) of terrestrial stations, dynamic and thermodynamic features of the atmosphere, Gridded data sets of Self-Calibrated Palmer drought severity index (SCPDSI) and global drought dataset standardized precipitation-evapotranspiration index (SPEI) and data related to the time and the extent of the wildfire. The ``environmental to circulation'' approach to synoptic classification has been used to investigate relationships between local-scale surface environment (wildfire) and the synoptic-scale atmospheric circulation conditions. Results of study show that during the 3-day wide wildfire, the average of MDT and the MRH was significantly different from the long-term average. During the aforementioned wildfire, the average of MDT in Mazandaran province was 26 °C and the average of MRH was reported 35 %. The long-term average of MDT and the MRH in Mazandaran province during 3 days of wildfire was 12.3 °C and 68 %, respectively. Therefore, the MDT has a positive abnormality of 13.7 °C and the MRH has a negative abnormality of 33 %. In addition, monthly SCPDSI and SPEI indicated severe drought conditions at December 2010 in Mazandaran. Analysis of SLP maps shows that during the 3-day fire, a pressure center of 1110 hPa on Persian Gulf and a very low-pressure center on Turkey and Asia Minor were created. Normally, this event has caused the pressure gradient and warm and dry air advection from Arabian Peninsula to higher longitudes, particularly Mazandaran province. Consequently, the MDT increased and the wildfire of Mazandaran forest took place in an area of 220 ha. Zonal wind maps signify the weakness of Zonal wind and meridional wind maps show the southern direction of meridional wind flow during the wide wildfire. Moreover, Omega maps prove
Mikesell, J.; Kinoshita, A. M.; Florsheim, J. L.; Chin, A.; Nourbakhshbeidokhti, S.
Wildfire is a landscape-scale disturbance that often alters hydrological processes and sediment flux during subsequent storms. Vegetation loss from wildfires induce changes to sediment supply such as channel erosion and sedimentation and streamflow magnitude or flooding. These changes enhance downstream hazards, threatening human populations and physical aquatic habitat over various time scales. Using Williams Canyon, a basin burned by the Waldo Canyon Fire (2012) as a case study, we utilize deterministic and statistical modeling methods (Fourier series and first order Markov chain) to assess pre- and post-fire geomorphic and hydrologic characteristics, including of precipitation, enhanced vegetation index (EVI, a satellite-based proxy of vegetation biomass), streamflow, and sediment flux. Local precipitation, terrestrial Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) scanning, and satellite-based products are used for these time series analyses. We present a framework to assess variability of periodic and nonperiodic climatic and multivariate trends to inform development of a post-wildfire risk assessment methodology. To establish the extent to which a wildfire affects hydrologic and geomorphic patterns, a Fourier series was used to fit pre- and post-fire geomorphic and hydrologic characteristics to yearly temporal cycles and subcycles of 6, 4, 3, and 2.4 months. These cycles were analyzed using least-squares estimates of the harmonic coefficients or amplitudes of each sub-cycle's contribution to fit the overall behavior of a Fourier series. The stochastic variances of these characteristics were analyzed by composing first-order Markov models and probabilistic analysis through direct likelihood estimates. Preliminary results highlight an increased dependence of monthly post-fire hydrologic characteristics on 12 and 6-month temporal cycles. This statistical and probabilistic analysis provides a basis to determine the impact of wildfires on the temporal dependence of
Miriam Wyman; Sparkle Malone; Taylor Stein; Cassandra Johnson
The southern United States is susceptible to wildfire, from its climate, growing seasons, lightning frequency, and decades of fire suppression. With much known about wildfireâs biophysical risks, less is understood about sociodemographic obstacles, including race, income, and education. Blacks in the rural southeastern United States are typically among the most...
Ikuho Kochi; Geoffrey H. Donovan; Patricia A. Champ; John B. Loomis
The economic costs of adverse health effects associated with exposure to wildfire smoke should be given serious consideration in determining the optimal wildfire management policy. Unfortunately, the literature in this research area is thin. In an effort to better understand the nature of these economic costs, we review and synthesise the relevant literature in three...
Hannah Brenkert-Smith; Katherine L. Dickinson; Patricia A. Champ; Nicholas Flores
Wildfire is a persistent and growing threat across much of the western United States. Understanding how people living in fire-prone areas perceive this threat is essential to the design of effective risk management policies. Drawing on the social amplification of risk framework, we develop a conceptual model of wildfire risk perceptions that incorporates the social...
Haiganoush K. Preisler; Alan A. Ager; Jane L. Hayes
Building probabilistic risk models for highly random forest disturbances like wildfire and forest insect outbreaks is a challenging. Modeling the interactions among natural disturbances is even more difficult. In the case of wildfire and forest insects, we looked at the probability of a large fire given an insect outbreak and also the incidence of insect outbreaks...
Ruffault, Julien; Curt, Thomas; Martin-StPaul, Nicolas K.; Moron, Vincent; Trigo, Ricardo M.
Increasing drought conditions under global warming are expected to alter the frequency and distribution of large and high-intensity wildfires. However, our understanding of the impact of increasing drought on extreme wildfires events remains incomplete. Here, we analyzed the weather conditions associated with the extreme wildfires events that occurred in Mediterranean France during the exceptionally dry summers of 2003 and 2016. We identified that these fires were related to two distinct shifts in the fire weather space towards fire weather conditions that had not been explored before and resulting from specific interactions between different types of drought and different fire weather types. In 2016, a long-lasting press drought intensified wind-driven fires. In 2003, a hot drought combining a heat wave with a press drought intensified heat-induced fires. Our findings highlight that increasing drought conditions projected by climate change scenarios might affect the dryness of fuel compartments and lead to a higher frequency of extremes wildfires events.
Murphy, B. P.; Czuba, J. A.; Belmont, P.; Budy, P.; Finch, C.
Episodic events in steep landscapes, such as wildfire and mass wasting, contribute large pulses of sediment to rivers and can significantly alter the quality and connectivity of fish habitat. Understanding where these sediment inputs occur, how they are transported and processed through the watershed, and their geomorphic effect on the river network is critical to predicting the impact on ecological aquatic communities. The Tushar Mountains of southern Utah experienced a severe wildfire in 2010, resulting in numerous debris flows and the extirpation of trout populations. Following many years of habitat and ecological monitoring in the field, we have developed a modeling framework that links post-wildfire debris flows, fluvial sediment routing, and population ecology in order to evaluate the impact and response of trout to wildfire. First, using the Tushar topographic and wildfire parameters, as well as stochastic precipitation generation, we predict the post-wildfire debris flow probabilities and volumes of mainstem tributaries using the Cannon et al.  model. This produces episodic hillslope sediment inputs, which are delivered to a fluvial sediment, river-network routing model (modified from Czuba et al. ). In this updated model, sediment transport dynamics are driven by time-varying discharge associated with the stochastic precipitation generation, include multiple grain sizes (including gravel), use mixed-size transport equations (Wilcock & Crowe ), and incorporate channel slope adjustments with aggradation and degradation. Finally, with the spatially explicit adjustments in channel bed elevation and grain size, we utilize a new population viability analysis (PVA) model to predict the impact and recovery of fish populations in response to these changes in habitat. Our model provides a generalizable framework for linking physical and ecological models and for evaluating the extirpation risk of isolated fish populations throughout the
Jones, Benjamin A.; Berrens, Robert P.
Recent growth in the frequency and severity of US wildfires has led to more wildfire smoke and increased public exposure to harmful air pollutants. Populations exposed to wildfire smoke experience a variety of negative health impacts, imposing economic costs on society. However, few estimates of smoke health costs exist and none for the entire Western US, in particular, which experiences some of the largest and most intense wildfires in the US. The lack of cost estimates is troublesome because smoke health impacts are an important consideration of the overall costs of wildfire. To address this gap, this study provides the first time series estimates of PM2.5 smoke costs across mortality and several morbidity measures for the Western US over 2005-2015. This time period includes smoke from several megafires and includes years of record-breaking acres burned. Smoke costs are estimated using a benefits transfer protocol developed for contexts when original health data are not available. The novelty of our protocol is that it synthesizes the literature on choices faced by researchers when conducting a smoke cost benefit transfer. On average, wildfire smoke in the Western US creates 165 million in annual morbidity and mortality health costs.
Flor Bautista Vicente
Full Text Available The phenomenon of wildfires became a global environmental problem which demands estimations of their CO2 emissions. Wildfires have deteriorated the air quality increasingly. Using available information on documented wildfires and a data set of satellite detected hot spots, total yearly emissions of CO2 in Mexico were estimated for the period 1999–2010. A map of the main vegetation groups was used to calculate total areas for every vegetation type. The yearly number of hot spots per vegetation type was calculated. Estimates of emitted CO2 in a wildfire were then accomplished by considering parameters such as: forest fuel load, vegetation type, burning efficiency, and mean burned area. The number of wildfires and total affected areas showed an annual variability. The yearly mean of affected area by a single wildfire varied between 0.2 and 0.3 km2. The total affected area during the period 1999 to 2010 was 86800 km2 which corresponds to 4.3% of the Mexican territory. Total CO2 emissions were approximately 112 Tg. The most affected vegetation types were forest and rainforest.
Anton, Charis E; Lawrence, Carmen
Wildfires are a common occurrence in many countries and are predicted to increase as we experience the effects of climate change. As more people are expected to be affected by fires, it is important to increase people's wildfire mitigation and preparation. Place attachment has been theorized to be related to mitigation and preparation. The present study examined place attachment and wildfire mitigation and preparation in two Australian samples, one rural and one on the wildland-urban interface. The study consisted of 300 participants who responded to questionnaires about their place attachment to their homes and local areas, as well as describing their socio-demographic characteristics and wildfire mitigation and preparedness. Hierarchical regression showed that place attachment to homes predicted wildfire mitigation and preparedness in the rural sample but not in the wildland-urban interface sample. The results suggest that place attachment is a motivator for mitigation and preparation only for people living rurally. Reminding rural residents of their attachment to home at the beginning of wildfire season may result in greater mitigation and preparedness. Further research focusing on why attachment does not predict mitigation and preparedness in the wildland-urban interface is needed.
Kinoshita, A. M.; Hogue, T. S.
Much of the western U.S. is increasingly susceptible to wildfire activity due to drier conditions, elevated fuel loads, and expanding urbanization. As population increases, development pushes the urban boundary further into wildlands, creating more potential for human interaction at the wildland-urban interface (WUI), primarily from human ignitions and fire suppression policies. The immediate impacts of wildfires include vulnerability to debris flows, flooding, and impaired water quality. Fires also alter longer-term hydrological and ecosystem behavior. The current study utilizes geospatial datasets to investigate historical wildfire size and frequency relative to the WUI for a range of cities across western North America. California, the most populous state in the U.S., has an extensive fire history. The decennial population and acres burned for four major counties (Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Shasta) in California show that increasing wildfire size and frequency follow urbanization trends, with high correlation between the last decade of burned area, urban-fringe proximity, and increasing population. Ultimately, results will provide information on urban fringe communities that are most vulnerable to the risks associated with wildfire and post-fire impacts. In light of evolving land use policies (i.e. forest management and treatment, development at the urban-fringe) and climate change, it is critical to advance our knowledge of the implications that these conditions pose to urban centers, communicate risks to the public, and ultimately provide guidance for wildfire management.
Collins, Timothy W.; Bolin, Bob
This article is based on a multimethod study designed to clarify influences on wildfire hazard vulnerability in Arizona’s White Mountains, USA. Findings reveal that multiple factors operating across scales generate socially unequal wildfire risks. At the household scale, conflicting environmental values, reliance on fire insurance and firefighting institutions, a lack of place dependency, and social vulnerability (e.g., a lack of financial, physical, and/or legal capacity to reduce risks) were found to be important influences on wildfire risk. At the regional-scale, the shift from a resource extraction to environmental amenity-based economy has transformed ecological communities, produced unequal social distributions of risks and resources, and shaped people’s social and environmental interactions in everyday life. While working-class locals are more socially vulnerable than amenity migrants to wildfire hazards, they have also been more active in attempting to reduce risks in the aftermath of the disastrous 2002 Rodeo-Chediski fire. Social tensions between locals and amenity migrants temporarily dissolved immediately following the disaster, only to be exacerbated by the heightened perception of risk and the differential commitment to hazard mitigation displayed by these groups over a 2-year study period. Findings suggest that to enhance wildfire safety, environmental managers should acknowledge the environmental benefits associated with hazardous landscapes, the incentives created by risk management programs, and the specific constraints to action for relevant social groups in changing human-environmental context.
Scott E. Nielsen
Full Text Available Large lakes can act as firebreaks resulting in distinct patterns in the forest mosaic. Although this is well acknowledged, much less is known about how wildfire is affected by different landscape measures of water and their interactions. Here we examine how these factors relate to historic patterns of wildfire over a 35-year period (1980–2014 for the boreal forest of Saskatchewan, Canada. This includes the amount of water in different-sized neighborhoods, the presence of islands, and the direction, distance, and shape of nearest lake of different sizes. All individual factors affected wildfire presence, with lake sizes ≥5000 ha and amount of water within a 1000-ha surrounding area the most supported spatial scales. Overall, wildfires were two-times less likely on islands, more likely further from lakes that were circular in shape, and in areas with less surrounding water. Interactive effects were common, including the effect of direction to lake as a function of distance from lakeshore and amount of surrounding water. Our results point to a strong, but complex, bottom-up control of local wildfire activity based on the configuration of natural firebreaks. In fact, fire rotation periods predicted for one area varied more than 15-fold (<47 to >700 years depending on local patterns in lakes. Old-growth forests within this fire-prone ecosystem are therefore likely to depend on the surrounding configuration of larger lakes.
Revchuk, Alex D; Suffet, I H
Physicochemical characterization of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) provides essential data to describe watershed characteristics after drastic changes caused by wildfires. Post-fire watershed behavior is important for water source selection, management, and drinking water treatment optimization. Using ash and other burned vegetation fragments, a leaching procedure was implemented to describe physicochemical changes to watershed DOC caused by wildfires. Samples were collected after the 2007 and 2009 wildfires near Santa Barbara, California. Substantial differences in size distribution (measured by ultrafiltration), polarity (measured by polarity rapid assessment method), and the origin of leached DOC (measured by fluorescence) were observed between burned and unburned sites. Recently burned ash had 10 times the DOC leaching potential, and was dominated by large size fragments, compared to weathered 2-year-old ash. Charged DOC fractions were found to positively correlate with DOC size, whereas hydrophobic and hydrophilic DOC fractions were not. Proteins were only observed in recently burned ash and were indicative of recent post-fire biological activity.
Matthew P. Thompson; Phil Bowden; April Brough; Joe H. Scott; Julie Gilbertson-Day; Alan Taylor; Jennifer Anderson; Jessica Haas
How wildfires are managed is a key determinant of long-term socioecological resiliency and the ability to live with fire. Safe and effective response to fire requires effective pre-fire planning, which is the main focus of this paper. We review general principles of effective federal fire management planning in the U.S., and introduce a framework for incident...
Martinez-Murillo, Juan F.; Remond, Ricardo; Ruiz-Sinoga, José D.
Climatic conditions play an important role in the post-fire vegetation recovery as well as other factors like topography, soil, and pre and post-fire land use (Shakesby, 2011; Robichaud et al., 2013). This study deals with the characterization of the vegetation cover status in an area affected by a wildfire 25 years ago. Namely, the objectives are to: i) compare the current and previous vegetation cover to wildfire; and ii) evaluate whether the current vegetation has recovered the previous cover to wildfire. The study area is mainly located in the Rio Verde watershed (Sierra de las Nieves, South of Spain). It corresponds to an area affected by a wildfire in August 8th, 1991. The burned area was equal to 8,156 ha. The burn severity was spatially very high. The main geographic features of the burned area are: mountainous topography (altitudes ranging from 250 m to 1700 m; slope gradient >25%; exposure mainly southfacing); igneous (peridotites), metamorphic (gneiss) and calcareous rocks (limestones); and predominant forest land use (Pinus pinaster sp. woodlands, 10%; pinus opened forest + shrubland, 40%; shrubland, 35%; and bare soil + grassland, 15%). Remote sensing techniques and GIS analysis has been applied to achieve the objectives. Landsat 5 and Landsat 8 images were used: July 13th, 1991 and July 1st, 2013, for the previous wildfire situation and 22-years after, respectively. The 1990 CORINE land cover was also considered to map 1991 land uses prior the wildfire. The Andalucía Regional Government wildfire historic records were used to select the burned area and its geographical limit. 1991 and 2013 land cover maps were obtained by means of object-oriented classifications. Also, NDVI index were calculated and mapped for both years in order to compare the status of vegetation cover. According to the results, the combination of remote sensing and GIS analysis let map the most recovered areas affected by the wildfire in 1991. The vegetation indexes indicated that
James R. Meldrum; Patricia A. Champ; Travis Warziniack; Hannah Brenkert-Smith; Christopher M. Barth; Lilia C. Falk
Wildland-urban interface (WUI) homeowners who do not mitigate the wildfire risk on their properties impose a negative externality on society. To reduce the social costs of wildfire andÂ incentivise homeowners to take action, cost sharing programs seek to reduce the barriers that impede wildfire risk mitigation. Using survey data from a WUI community in western Colorado...
Webster, Jackson; Kane, Tyler J.; Obrist, Daniel; Ryan, Joseph N.; Aiken, George R.
Understanding the emissions of mercury (Hg) from wildfires is important for quantifying the global atmospheric Hg sources. Emissions of Hg from soils resulting from wildfires in the Western United States was estimated for the 2000 to 2013 period, and the potential emission of Hg from forest soils was assessed as a function of forest type and soil-heating. Wildfire released an annual average of 3100 ± 1900 kg-Hg y− 1 for the years spanning 2000–2013 in the 11 states within the study area. This estimate is nearly 5-fold lower than previous estimates for the study region. Lower emission estimates are attributed to an inclusion of fire severity within burn perimeters. Within reported wildfire perimeters, the average distribution of low, moderate, and high severity burns was 52, 29, and 19% of the total area, respectively. Review of literature data suggests that that low severity burning does not result in soil heating, moderate severity fire results in shallow soil heating, and high severity fire results in relatively deep soil heating ( wood > foliage > litter > branches.
Catherine S. Wightman; Victoria A. Saab; Chris Forristal; Kim Mellen-Mclean; Amy Markus
Within forests susceptible to wildfire and insect infestations, land managers need to balance dead tree removal and habitat requirements for wildlife species associated with snags. We used Mahalanobis distance methods to develop predictive models of white-headed woodpecker (Picoides albolarvatus) nesting habitat in postfire ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)-dominated...
Schmerbeck, Joachim; Fiener, Peter
This review is intended to contribute to the understanding of the interlinkage between wildfire in India's tropical dry forest (TDF) and selected ecosystem services (ES), namely forest provisioning and water regulating services, as well as biodiversity. TDF covers approximately 146,000 km2 (4.4 %) of India, whereas according to the MODIS fire product about 2200 km2 (1.4 %) burns per year. As studies on wildfire effects upon ESs and biodiversity in Indian TDFs are rare we partly transferred findings from other (dry) forest areas to the environmental situation in India. In India (intentionally lit) wildfires have a very important connection to local livelihoods and the availability of non-wood forest products. Very important adverse long-term effects are the deterioration of forest ecosystems and soil degradation. The potential for TDF to regulate hydrological cycles is expected to be greater in the absence of fire than with it. A general judgment on the effect of fire on biodiversity is difficult as it depends on the community and species involved but a loss of biodiversity under regular burnings is apparent. Consequently, forest managers need sound knowledge regarding the interplay of wildfires and ecosystem behavior in general and more specific knowledge regarding the effects on taxa being considered for conservation efforts. Generally, much more research is needed to understand the trade-offs between the short-term benefits gained from forest provisioning services and long-term adverse effects.
Schmerbeck, Joachim; Fiener, Peter
This review is intended to contribute to the understanding of the interlinkage between wildfire in India's tropical dry forest (TDF) and selected ecosystem services (ES), namely forest provisioning and water regulating services, as well as biodiversity. TDF covers approximately 146,000 km(2) (4.4%) of India, whereas according to the MODIS fire product about 2200 km(2) (1.4%) burns per year. As studies on wildfire effects upon ESs and biodiversity in Indian TDFs are rare we partly transferred findings from other (dry) forest areas to the environmental situation in India. In India (intentionally lit) wildfires have a very important connection to local livelihoods and the availability of non-wood forest products. Very important adverse long-term effects are the deterioration of forest ecosystems and soil degradation. The potential for TDF to regulate hydrological cycles is expected to be greater in the absence of fire than with it. A general judgment on the effect of fire on biodiversity is difficult as it depends on the community and species involved but a loss of biodiversity under regular burnings is apparent. Consequently, forest managers need sound knowledge regarding the interplay of wildfires and ecosystem behavior in general and more specific knowledge regarding the effects on taxa being considered for conservation efforts. Generally, much more research is needed to understand the trade-offs between the short-term benefits gained from forest provisioning services and long-term adverse effects.
Rochoux, M. C.; Bart, J.; Ricci, S. M.; Cuenot, B.; Trouvé, A.; Duchaine, F.; Morel, T.
Real-time predictions of a propagating wildfire remain a challenging task because the problem involves both multi-physics and multi-scales. The propagation speed of wildfires, also called the rate of spread (ROS), is indeed determined by complex interactions between pyrolysis, combustion and flow dynamics, atmospheric dynamics occurring at vegetation, topographical and meteorological scales. Current operational fire spread models are mainly based on a semi-empirical parameterization of the ROS in terms of vegetation, topographical and meteorological properties. For the fire spread simulation to be predictive and compatible with operational applications, the uncertainty on the ROS model should be reduced. As recent progress made in remote sensing technology provides new ways to monitor the fire front position, a promising approach to overcome the difficulties found in wildfire spread simulations is to integrate fire modeling and fire sensing technologies using data assimilation (DA). For this purpose we have developed a prototype data-driven wildfire spread simulator in order to provide optimal estimates of poorly known model parameters [*]. The data-driven simulation capability is adapted for more realistic wildfire spread : it considers a regional-scale fire spread model that is informed by observations of the fire front location. An Ensemble Kalman Filter algorithm (EnKF) based on a parallel computing platform (OpenPALM) was implemented in order to perform a multi-parameter sequential estimation where wind magnitude and direction are in addition to vegetation properties (see attached figure). The EnKF algorithm shows its good ability to track a small-scale grassland fire experiment and ensures a good accounting for the sensitivity of the simulation outcomes to the control parameters. As a conclusion, it was shown that data assimilation is a promising approach to more accurately forecast time-varying wildfire spread conditions as new airborne-like observations of
Donna Peppin; Peter Z. Fule; Carolyn Hull Sieg; Jan L. Beyers; Molly E. Hunter
Broadcast seeding is one of the most widely used post-wildfire emergency response treatments intended to reduce soil erosion, increase vegetative ground cover, and minimize establishment and spread of non-native plant species. We conducted an evidence-based review to examine the effectiveness and effects of post-wildfire seeding treatments on soil stabilization, non-...
Morrison, Katherine D; Kolden, Crystal A
Wildfire is a common disturbance that can significantly alter vegetation in watersheds and affect the rate of sediment and nutrient transport to adjacent nearshore oceanic environments. Changes in runoff resulting from heterogeneous wildfire effects are not well-understood due to both limitations in the field measurement of runoff and temporally-limited spatial data available to parameterize runoff models. We apply replicable, scalable methods for modeling wildfire impacts on sediment and nonpoint source pollutant export into the nearshore environment, and assess relationships between wildfire severity and runoff. Nonpoint source pollutants were modeled using a GIS-based empirical deterministic model parameterized with multi-year land cover data to quantify fire-induced increases in transport to the nearshore environment. Results indicate post-fire concentration increases in phosphorus by 161 percent, sediments by 350 percent and total suspended solids (TSS) by 53 percent above pre-fire years. Higher wildfire severity was associated with the greater increase in exports of pollutants and sediment to the nearshore environment, primarily resulting from the conversion of forest and shrubland to grassland. This suggests that increasing wildfire severity with climate change will increase potential negative impacts to adjacent marine ecosystems. The approach used is replicable and can be utilized to assess the effects of other types of land cover change at landscape scales. It also provides a planning and prioritization framework for management activities associated with wildfire, including suppression, thinning, and post-fire rehabilitation, allowing for quantification of potential negative impacts to the nearshore environment in coastal basins. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Valdez Vasquez, M. C.; Chen, C. F.
Wildfires are unrestrained fires in an area of flammable vegetation and they are one of the most frequent disasters in Honduras during the dry season. During this period, anthropogenic activity combined with the harsh climatic conditions, dry vegetation and topographical variables, cause a large amount of wildfires. For this reason, there is a need to identify the drivers of wildfires and their susceptibility variations during the wildfire season. In this study, we combined the wildfire points during the 2010-2016 period every 8 days with a series of variables using the random forest (RF) algorithm. In addition to the wildfire points, we randomly generated a similar amount of background points that we use as pseudo-absence data. To represent the human imprint, we included proximity to different types of roads, trails, settlements and agriculture sites. Other variables included are the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectra-radiometer (MODIS)-derived 8-day composites of land surface temperature (LST) and the normalized multi-band drought index (NMDI), derived from the MODIS surface reflectance data. We also included monthly average precipitation, solar radiation, and topographical variables. The exploratory analysis of the variables reveals that low precipitation combined with the low NMDI and accessibility to non-paved roads were the major drivers of wildfires during the early months of the dry season. During April, which is the peak of the dry season, the explanatory variables of relevance also included elevation and LST in addition to the proximity to paved and non-paved roads. During May, proximity to crops becomes relevant, in addition to the aforesaid variables. The average estimated area with high and very high wildfire susceptibility was 22% of the whole territory located mainly in the central and eastern regions, drifting towards the northeast areas during May. We validated the results using the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC
Hand, Michael S; Liang, Jingjing; Thompson, Matthew P
In this age of climatic and financial uncertainty, it becomes increasingly important to balance the cost, benefits and risk of wildfire management. In the United States, increased wildland fire activity over the last 15 years has resulted in drastic damage and loss of life. An associated rapid increase in fire management costs has consumed higher portions of budgets of public entities involved in wildfire management, challenging their ability to fulfill other responsibilities. Increased public scrutiny highlights the need to improve wildland fire management for cost effectiveness. This book closely examines the development of basic wildfire suppression cost models for the United States and their application to a wide range of settings from informing incident decision making to programmatic review. The book also explores emerging trends in suppression costs and introduces new spatially explicit cost models to account for characteristics of the burned landscape. Finally, it discusses how emerging risk assessmen...
Jamie Lydersen; Malcolm North; Brandon M. Collins
The 2013 Rim Fire, originating on Forest Service land, burned into old-growth forests within Yosemite National Park with relatively restored frequent-fire regimes (Â¡Ã2 predominantly low and moderate severity burns within the last 35 years). Forest structure and fuels data were collected in the field 3-4 years before the fire, providing a rare chance to use pre-existing...
Paschalidou, A K; Kassomenos, P A
Wildfire management is closely linked to robust forecasts of changes in wildfire risk related to meteorological conditions. This link can be bridged either through fire weather indices or through statistical techniques that directly relate atmospheric patterns to wildfire activity. In the present work the COST-733 classification schemes are applied in order to link wildfires in Greece with synoptic circulation patterns. The analysis reveals that the majority of wildfire events can be explained by a small number of specific synoptic circulations, hence reflecting the synoptic climatology of wildfires. All 8 classification schemes used, prove that the most fire-dangerous conditions in Greece are characterized by a combination of high atmospheric pressure systems located N to NW of Greece, coupled with lower pressures located over the very Eastern part of the Mediterranean, an atmospheric pressure pattern closely linked to the local Etesian winds over the Aegean Sea. During these events, the atmospheric pressure has been reported to be anomalously high, while anomalously low 500hPa geopotential heights and negative total water column anomalies were also observed. Among the various classification schemes used, the 2 Principal Component Analysis-based classifications, namely the PCT and the PXE, as well as the Leader Algorithm classification LND proved to be the best options, in terms of being capable to isolate the vast amount of fire events in a small number of classes with increased frequency of occurrence. It is estimated that these 3 schemes, in combination with medium-range to seasonal climate forecasts, could be used by wildfire risk managers to provide increased wildfire prediction accuracy. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Shakesby, R. A.; Bento, C. P. M.; Ferreira, C. S. S.; Ferreira, A. J. D.; Stoof, C. R.; Urbanek, E.; Walsh, R. P. D.
Prescribed (controlled) fire has become an important strategy primarily to limit the likelihood of more devastating wildfire. The considerable increase in wildfire activity in recent decades throughout the Mediterranean, and in Portugal in particular, has meant that this strategy has become increasingly popular despite inherent fears of people about fire of any sort. Despite many studies of the impact of wildfire on soil erosion and degradation, relatively little research has assessed impacts of prescribed fire on soil in Portugal or elsewhere in the Mediterranean. As part of the DESIRE research programme, this paper addresses this research gap by investigating hillslope-scale losses of soil, soil organic matter and selected nutrients before and after an experimental fire (representing a 'worst case-scenario' prescribed fire) in a shrub-vegetated catchment in central Portugal. Comparison is provided by post-fire monitoring of a nearby hillslope affected by a wildfire of moderate severity. Hillslope-scale measurements were carried out over c. 3 years using sediment fences with contributing areas of up to c. 0.5 ha. Eroded sediment was periodically removed from the fences both before and after the fire at intervals ranging from a few weeks to several months depending on rainfall characteristics and logistics. Erosion expressed as g/m2 and g/m2/mm of rainfall was determined. Figures for long-term (c. 10 years) erosion under unburnt conditions for this vegetation type were obtained from a small bounded plot and from sediment accumulating in a weir pool draining a sub-catchment within the prescribed-fire catchment. In addition, soil organic matter and selected nutrients, including K2O, P2O5 and Total N, were measured in the eroded sediment and in the pre-burn and post-burn in situ soil. The results indicate that both the wildfire and prescribed fire caused erosion that was orders of magnitude higher than for long-term plot-scale and hillslope-scale erosion recorded
Syphard, Alexandra D; Radeloff, Volker C; Keeley, Jon E; Hawbaker, Todd J; Clayton, Murray K; Stewart, Susan I; Hammer, Roger B
Periodic wildfire maintains the integrity and species composition of many ecosystems, including the mediterranean-climate shrublands of California. However, human activities alter natural fire regimes, which can lead to cascading ecological effects. Increased human ignitions at the wildland-urban interface (WUI) have recently gained attention, but fire activity and risk are typically estimated using only biophysical variables. Our goal was to determine how humans influence fire in California and to examine whether this influence was linear, by relating contemporary (2000) and historic (1960-2000) fire data to both human and biophysical variables. Data for the human variables included fine-resolution maps of the WUI produced using housing density and land cover data. Interface WUI, where development abuts wildland vegetation, was differentiated from intermix WUI, where development intermingles with wildland vegetation. Additional explanatory variables included distance to WUI, population density, road density, vegetation type, and ecoregion. All data were summarized at the county level and analyzed using bivariate and multiple regression methods. We found highly significant relationships between humans and fire on the contemporary landscape, and our models explained fire frequency (R2 = 0.72) better than area burned (R2 = 0.50). Population density, intermix WUI, and distance to WUI explained the most variability in fire frequency, suggesting that the spatial pattern of development may be an important variable to consider when estimating fire risk. We found nonlinear effects such that fire frequency and area burned were highest at intermediate levels of human activity, but declined beyond certain thresholds. Human activities also explained change in fire frequency and area burned (1960-2000), but our models had greater explanatory power during the years 1960-1980, when there was more dramatic change in fire frequency. Understanding wildfire as a function of the
Joseph C. Restiano; David L. Peterson
Sequestration of carbon (C) in forests has the potential to mitigate the effects of climate change by offsetting future emissions of greenhouse gases. However, in dry temperate forests, wildfire is a natural disturbance agent with the potential to release large fluxes of C into the atmosphere. Climate-driven increases in wildfire extent and severity arc expected to...
Sarah M. McCaffrey; Melanie Stidham; Eric Toman; Bruce. Shindler
In recent years, altered forest conditions, climate change, and the increasing numbers of homes built in fire prone areas has meant that wildfires are affecting more people. An important part of minimizing the potential negative impacts of wildfire is engaging homeowners in mitigating the fire hazard on their land. It is therefore important to understand what makes...
Quarles, Stephen, L.; Sindelar, Melissa
The primary goal of the Wildfire ignition resistant home design(WIRHD) program was to develop a home evaluation tool that could assess the ignition potential of a structure subjected to wildfire exposures. This report describes the tests that were conducted, summarizes the results, and discusses the implications of these results with regard to the vulnerabilities to homes and buildings.
Matthew Wibbenmeyer; Michael Hand; David Calkin
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (USFS) has, in recent years, increasingly emphasized the importance of safety to its employees, but wildfire management remains a risky endeavor. While wildfire management decisions affecting safety and exposure of firefighters to the wildland fire environment may be aided by decision support tools such the Wildfire...
Carroll, Matthew; Paveglio, Travis
One of the immediate challenges of wildfire management concerns threats to human safety and property in residential areas adjacent to non-cultivated vegetation. One approach for relieving this problem is to increase human community 'adaptiveness' to deal with the risk and reality of fire in a variety of landscapes. The challenge in creating 'fire-adapted communities' (FACs) is the great diversity in character and make-up of populations at risk from wildfire. This paper outlines a recently developed categorization scheme for Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) communities based on a larger conceptual approach for understanding how social diversity is likely to influence the creation of FACs. The WUI categorization scheme situates four community archetypes on a continuum that recognizes dynamic change in human community functioning. We use results from the WUI classification scheme to outline key characteristics associated with each archetype and results from recent case studies to demonstrate the diversity across WUI communities. Differences among key characteristics of local social context will likely result in the need for different adaptation strategies to wildfire. While the WUI archetypes described here may not be broadly applicable to other parts of the world, we argue that the conceptual approach and strategies for systematically documenting local influences on wildfire adaptation have potential for broad application.This article is part of the themed issue 'The interaction of fire and mankind'. © 2016 The Author(s).
Derek T. O' Donnell; Tyron J. Venna; David E. Calkin
Federal wildfire management agencies in the United States are under substantial pressure to reduce and economically justify their expenditures. To support economically efficient management of wildfires, managers need better estimates of the resource benefits and avoided damage costs associated with alternative wildfire management strategies. This paper reports findings...
Sanchez, J. J.; Srivastava, L.; Marcos-Martinez, R.
Climate change has resulted in the increased severity and frequency of forest disturbances due to wildfires, droughts, pests and diseases that compromise the sustainable provision of forest ecosystem services (e.g., water quantity and quality, carbon sequestration, recreation). A better understanding of the environmental and socioeconomic consequences of forest disturbances (i.e., wildfires) could improve the management and protection of public lands. We used a single-site benefit transfer function and spatially explicit information for demographic, socioeconomic, and site-specific characteristics to estimate the monetized value of market and non-market ecosystem services provided by forests on Western US public lands. These estimates are then used to approximate the costs of forest disturbances caused by wildfires of varying frequency and intensity, and across sites with heterogeneous characteristics and protection and management strategies. Our analysis provides credible estimates of the benefits of the forest for land management by the United States Forest Service, thereby assisting forest managers in planning resourcing and budgeting priorities.
Alan A. Ager; Michelle A. Day; Mark A. Finney; Ken Vance-Borland; Nicole M. Vaillant
We develop the idea of risk transmission from large wildfires and apply network analyses to understand its importance on a 0.75 million ha US national forest. Wildfires in the western US frequently burn over long distances (e.g., 20â50 km) through highly fragmented landscapes with respect to ownership, fuels, management intensity, population density, and ecological...
Parker, A.; Chin, A.; O'Dowd, A. P.
Recovery of riverine ecosystems following disturbance is driven by a variety of interacting processes. Wildfires pose increasing disturbances to riverine landscapes, with rising frequencies and magnitudes owing to warming climates and increased fuel loads. The effects of wildfire include loss of vegetation, elevated runoff and flash floods, erosion and deposition, and changing biological habitats and communities. Understanding process interactions in post-fire landscapes is increasingly urgent for successful management and restoration of affected ecosystems. In steep channels, steps and pools provide prominent habitats for organisms and structural integrity in high energy environments. Step-pools are typically stable, responding to extreme events with recurrence intervals often exceeding 50 years. Once wildfire occurs, however, intensification of post-fire flood events can potentially overpower the inherent stability of these systems, with significant consequences for aquatic life and human well-being downstream. This study examined the short-term response of step-pool streams following the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado. We explored interacting feedbacks among geomorphology, hydrology, and ecology in the post-fire environment. At selected sites with varying burn severity, we established baseline conditions immediately after the fire with channel surveys, biological assessment using benthic macroinvertebrates, sediment analysis including pebble counts, and precipitation gauging. Repeat measurements after major storm events over several years enabled analysis of the interacting feedbacks among post-fire processes. We found that channels able to retain the step-pool structure changed less and facilitated recovery more readily. Step habitats maintained higher percentages of sensitive macroinvertebrate taxa compared to pools through post-fire floods. Sites burned with high severity experienced greater reduction in the percentage of sensitive taxa. The decimation of
Neary, D.; Ffolliott, P.; Stropki, C.
The Rodeo-Chediski Wildfire - the largest in Arizona's history - damaged or destroyed ecosystem resources and disrupted ecosystem functioning in a largely mosaic pattern throughout the ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests exposed to the burn. Impacts of this wildfire on tree overstories were studied on two watersheds in the area burned; one watershed burned by a high severity (stand-replacing) fire, while the other watershed burned by a low severity (stand-modifying) fire. The Rodeo-Chediski wildfire damaged or destroyed ecosystem resources and disrupted the ecological functioning on much of the 189,015 ha impacted by the burning. Intermingling chaparral shrub communities and pinyon-juniper woodlands at lower elevations and ponderosa pine forests at high elevations were located within the burned area. The wildfire was caused by two human ignitions that merged into one inferno. The Rodeo Fire was started by an arsonist on June 18, 2002, while the Chediski Fire was ignited as a signal fire by a stranded motorist on June 20th. The two fires merged on June 26, 2002, to become the Rodeo-Chediski Wildfire. The combined wildfires were contained on July 7th at a suppression (firefighting) cost of about €37.9 million (USA 50 million). However, the estimated costs associated with property losses; losses of ecosystem, anthropological, and cultural resources; and post-fire rehabilitation efforts increased the costs of the wildfire to over €114 million (USA 150 million). About one-half of the total area that was burned by the Rodeo-Chediski Wildfire experienced a high-severity fire, other areas burned at a low- to medium-severity fire, and still other areas were largely unburned according to a Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER) report and fire severity map prepared shortly after containment of the wildfire. A mosaic of areas burned at varying fire severities within intermingling unburned areas resulted. Post-fire rehabilitation efforts, including establishment
Brian P. Oswald
Climate plays a central role in shaping fire regimes over long time scales and in generating short-term weather that drives fire events. Recent research suggests that the increasing numbers of large and severe wildfires, lengthened wildfire seasons, and increased area burned are, in part, related to shifts in climate. The historical fire regimes in many ecosystems have...
Ruiz-Mirazo, J.; Gonzalez-Rebollar, J. L.
Aim of study: In the Mediterranean, low timber-production forests are frequently thinned to promote biodiversity and reduce wildfire risk, but few studies in the region have addressed such goals. The aim of this research was to compare six thinning regimes applied to create a fuel break in a young Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) planted forest. Area of study: A semiarid continental high plateau in south-eastern Spain. Material and Methods: Three thinning intensities (Light, Medium and Heavy) were combined with two thinning methods: i) Random (tree selection), and ii) Regular (tree spacing). Tree growth and stand structure measurements were made four years following treatments. Main results: Heavy Random thinning successfully transformed the regular tree plantation pattern into a close-to-random spatial tree distribution. Heavy Regular thinning (followed by the Medium Regular and Heavy Random regimes) significantly reduced growth in stand basal area and biomass. Individual tree growth, in contrast, was greater in Heavy and Medium thinnings than in Light ones, which were similar to the Control. Research highlights: Heavy Random thinning seemed the most appropriate in a young Aleppo pine planted forest to reduce fire risk and artificial tree distribution simultaneously. Light Regular thinning avoids under stocking the stand and may be the most suitable treatment for creating a fuel break when the undergrowth poses a high fire risk. (Author) 35 refs.
William J. De Groot; Michael D. Flannigan; Brian J. Stocks
Wildland fire regimes are primarily driven by climate/weather, fuels and people. All of these factors are dynamic and their variable interactions create a mosaic of fire regimes around the world. Climate change will have a substantial impact on future fire regimes in many global regions. Current research suggests a general increase in area burned and fire occurrence...
Full Text Available The predicted increase in wildfires associated with climate change poses a risk to freshwater biodiversity that may be exacerbated by river regulation. We studied the effects of wildfire and river management on the fish assemblages of Atlantic-Mediterranean streams in northern Portugal. Employing a chronosquence survey covering an 18-year gradient of impact-recovery from major fire events (ca. 100% catchment burnt, we assessed the ecological response with respect to time since wildfire, interpreting fish assemblages in the context of species traits and characteristics of the river habitat. Non-burnt sites (N = 18; surveyed 4 years previously were compared to burnt sites (N = 14, two of which were part of the non-burnt set, thus providing a Before-After Impact comparison (BAI; N = 2. Across burnt sites richness and abundance were not related to time since wildfire. BAI revealed a contrast in the response of different species that corresponded to descriptive evidence from the chronosequence of burnt sites. As resource specialists, Salmo trutta were negatively impacted by wildfire; Iberian endemic cyprinids, characterized by generalist traits, demonstrated resistance. Habitat structure was a key determinant of wildfire-impact, increasing with channel slope and the degree of channelization. The low abundance of migratory taxa (S. trutta and Anguilla anguilla at burnt sites suggested the importance of fish mobility to post-fire recovery. These data demonstrate that trait profiles and habitat descriptions provide pragmatic information for the management of rivers in fire-susceptible regions and suggest that the rehabilitation of these upland stream habitats might enhance ecological resistance and resilience to catchment wildfire.
Hossack, Blake R.; Honeycutt, Richard
Drought has fueled an increased frequency and severity of large wildfires in many ecosystems. Despite an increase in research on wildfire effects on vertebrates, the vast majority of it has focused on short-term (effects and there is still little information on the time scale of population recovery for species that decline in abundance after fire. In 2003, a large wildfire in Montana (USA) burned the watersheds of four of eight streams that we sampled for larval Rocky Mountain tailed frogs (Ascaphus montanus) in 2001. Surveys during 2004–2005 revealed reduced abundance of larvae in burned streams relative to unburned streams, with greater declines associated with increased fire extent. Rocky Mountain tailed frogs have low vagility and have several unusual life-history traits that could slow population recovery, including an extended larval period (4 years), delayed sexual maturity (6–8 years), and low fecundity (negative effects of burn extent on larval abundance weakened> 58% within 12 years after the fire. We also found moderate synchrony among populations in unburned streams and negative spatial autocorrelation among populations in burned streams. We suspect negative spatial autocorrelation among spatially-clustered burned streams reflected increased post-fire patchiness in resources and different rates of local recovery. Our results add to a growing body of work that suggests populations in intact ecosystems tend to be resilient to habitat changes caused by wildfire. Our results also provide important insights into recovery times of populations that have been negatively affected by severe wildfire.
Syphard, Alexandra D.; Massada, Avi Bar; Butsic, Van; Keeley, Jon E.
Increasing numbers of homes are being destroyed by wildfire in the wildland-urban interface. With projections of climate change and housing growth potentially exacerbating the threat of wildfire to homes and property, effective fire-risk reduction alternatives are needed as part of a comprehensive fire management plan. Land use planning represents a shift in traditional thinking from trying to eliminate wildfires, or even increasing resilience to them, toward avoiding exposure to them through the informed placement of new residential structures. For land use planning to be effective, it needs to be based on solid understanding of where and how to locate and arrange new homes. We simulated three scenarios of future residential development and projected landscape-level wildfire risk to residential structures in a rapidly urbanizing, fire-prone region in southern California. We based all future development on an econometric subdivision model, but we varied the emphasis of subdivision decision-making based on three broad and common growth types: infill, expansion, and leapfrog. Simulation results showed that decision-making based on these growth types, when applied locally for subdivision of individual parcels, produced substantial landscape-level differences in pattern, location, and extent of development. These differences in development, in turn, affected the area and proportion of structures at risk from burning in wildfires. Scenarios with lower housing density and larger numbers of small, isolated clusters of development, i.e., resulting from leapfrog development, were generally predicted to have the highest predicted fire risk to the largest proportion of structures in the study area, and infill development was predicted to have the lowest risk. These results suggest that land use planning should be considered an important component to fire risk management and that consistently applied policies based on residential pattern may provide substantial benefits for
Selimovic, V.; Yokelson, R. J.; Warneke, C.; Roberts, J. M.; De Gouw, J. A.; Reardon, J.; Griffith, D. W. T.
Western wildfires have a major impact on air quality in the US. In the fall of 2016, 107 fires were burned in the large-scale combustion facility at the US Forest Service Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory as part of the Fire Influence on Regional and Global Environments Experiment (FIREX). Canopy, litter, duff, dead wood, and other fuels from various widespread coniferous and chaparral ecosystems were burned in combinations to represent relevant configurations in the field and as pure components to investigate the effects of individual fuels. The smoke emissions were characterized by a large suite of state-of-the-art instruments. In this study we report emission factor (EF, g compound emitted per kg fuel burned) measurements in fresh smoke of a diverse suite of critically-important trace gases measured by open-path Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (OP-FTIR). We also report aerosol optical properties (absorption EF, single scattering albedo (SSA) and Ångström absorption exponent (AAE)) as well as black carbon (BC) EF measured by photoacoustic extinctiometers (PAX) at 870 and 401 nm. A careful comparison with available field measurements of wildfires confirms that representative data can be extracted from the lab fire data. The OP-FTIR data show that ammonia (1.65 g kg-1), acetic acid (2.44 g kg-1), and other trace gases are significant emissions not previously measured for US wildfires. The PAX measurements show that brown carbon (BrC) absorption is most dominant for combustion of duff (AAE 7.13) and rotten wood (AAE 4.60): fuels that are consumed in greater amounts during wildfires than prescribed fires. We confirm that about 86% of the aerosol absorption at 401 nm in typical fresh wildfire smoke is due to BrC.
Kooistra, C. M.; Hall, T. E.; Paveglio, T.; Carroll, M.; Smith, A. M.
Considering the dynamic nature of the earth and climate systems and the increasing potential for widespread forest disturbances, it is important to understand the implications of landscape changes, and perceptions of changes, on people's responses to forest disturbances. Understanding how people perceive landscape change over time following forest disturbances helps researchers, land managers, and community leaders identify important biophysical and social characteristics that influence the vulnerability of people who experience forest disturbances, as well as their responses to those disturbances. This poster describes people's perceptions of landscape change following a significant wildfire. The lightning ignited Dahl fire burned 12 miles southeast of Roundup, MT mostly on private land in the summer of June 2012. The fire burned approximately 22,000 acres and destroyed 73 residences. We conducted interviews in the summer of 2013 with more than 40 residents, land managers, emergency personnel, and other stakeholders. While interviews covered several topics, this poster focuses on responses to questions regarding perceptions of short- and long-term landscape change after the fire, including both social and biophysical perspectives. Interviews revealed that people's understanding of the role of wildfires as a natural ecosystem process, as well as their connections with the landscape (i.e., sense of place), were important factors that influenced their perceptions of landscape change after the fire. Many respondents discussed the landscape ';recovering' to pre-fire conditions in longer-term timeframes, such as ';multiple generations.' They often referenced previous wildfires, the Hawk Creek fire (1984) and the Majeras fire (2006), by explaining how parts of the landscape affected by the Dahl fire might compare to certain areas of the previous fires. Variations in recovery expectations were often based on perceptions of the severity of the fire (especially temperature
Adhikari, B.; Hodza, P.; Xu, C.; Minckley, T. A.
Although NASA's Active Fire dataset is considered valuable in mapping the spatial distribution and extent of wildfires across the world, the data is only available at approximately 12-hour time intervals, creating uncertainties and risks associated with fire spread and behavior between the two Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Satellite (VIIRS) data collection timeframes. Our study seeks to close the information gap for the United States by using the latest Active Fire data collected for instance around 0130 hours as an ignition source and critical inputs to a wildfire model by uniquely incorporating forecasted and real-time weather conditions for predicting fire perimeter at the next 12 hour reporting time (i.e. around 1330 hours). The model ingests highly dynamic variables such as fuel moisture, temperature, relative humidity, wind among others, and prompts a Monte Carlo simulation exercise that uses a varying range of possible values for evaluating all possible wildfire behaviors. The Monte Carlo simulation implemented in this model provides a measure of the relative wildfire risk levels at various locations based on the number of times those sites are intersected by simulated fire perimeters. Model calibration is achieved using data at next reporting time (i.e. after 12 hours) to enhance the predictive quality at further time steps. While initial results indicate that the calibrated model can predict the overall geometry and direction of wildland fire spread, the model seems to over-predict the sizes of most fire perimeters possibly due to unaccounted fire suppression activities. Nonetheless, the results of this study show great promise in aiding wildland fire tracking, fighting and risk management.
Robinne, François-Nicolas; Parisien, Marc-André; Flannigan, Mike; Miller, Carol; Bladon, Kevin D.
Extreme wildfire events extensively affect hydrosystem stability and generate an important threat to the reliability of the water supply for human and natural communities. While actively studied at the watershed scale, the development of a global vision of wildfire risk to water security has only been undertaken recently, pointing at potential water security concerns in an era of global changes. In order to address this concern, we propose a global-scale analysis of the wildfire risk to surface water supplies based on the Driving forces-Pressures-States-Impacts-Responses (DPSIR) framework. This framework relies on the cause-and-effect relationships existing between the five categories of the DPSIR chain. Based on the literature, we gathered an extensive set of spatial indicators relevant to fire-induced hydrological hazards and water consumption patterns by human and natural communities. Each indicator was assigned a DPSIR category. Then, we collapsed the information in each category using a principal component analysis in order to extract the most relevant pixel-based information provided by each spatial indicator. Finally, we compiled our five categories using an additive indexation process to produce a spatially-explicit index of the wildfire-water risk (WWR). For comparison purposes, we aggregated index scores by global hydrological regions, or hydrobelts, for analysis. Overall, our results show a distinct pattern of medium-to-high risk levels in areas where sizeable wildfire activity, water resources, and water consumption are concomitant, which mainly encompasses temperate and sub-tropical zones. A closer look at hydrobelts reveals differences in the factors driving the risk, with fire activity being the primary factor of risk in the circumboreal forest, and freshwater resource density being prevalent in tropical areas. We also identified major urban areas across the world whose source waters should be protected from extreme fire events, particularly when
Emily S Hope
Full Text Available Climate-influenced changes in fire regimes in northern temperate and boreal regions will have both ecological and economic ramifications. We examine possible future wildfire area burned and suppression costs using a recently compiled historical (i.e., 1980-2009 fire management cost database for Canada and several Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC climate projections. Area burned was modelled as a function of a climate moisture index (CMI, and fire suppression costs then estimated as a function of area burned. Future estimates of area burned were generated from projections of the CMI under two emissions pathways for four General Circulation Models (GCMs; these estimates were constrained to ecologically reasonable values by incorporating a minimum fire return interval of 20 years. Total average annual national fire management costs are projected to increase to just under $1 billion (a 60% real increase from the 1980-2009 period under the low greenhouse gas emissions pathway and $1.4 billion (119% real increase from the base period under the high emissions pathway by the end of the century. For many provinces, annual costs that are currently considered extreme (i.e., occur once every ten years are projected to become commonplace (i.e., occur once every two years or more often as the century progresses. It is highly likely that evaluations of current wildland fire management paradigms will be necessary to avoid drastic and untenable cost increases as the century progresses.
Loehman, Rachel A.; Keane, Robert E.; Holsinger, Lisa M.; Wu, Zhiwei
ContextInteractions among disturbances, climate, and vegetation influence landscape patterns and ecosystem processes. Climate changes, exotic invasions, beetle outbreaks, altered fire regimes, and human activities may interact to produce landscapes that appear and function beyond historical analogs.ObjectivesWe used the mechanistic ecosystem-fire process model FireBGCv2 to model interactions of wildland fire, mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), and white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) under current and future climates, across three diverse study areas.MethodsWe assessed changes in tree basal area as a measure of landscape response over a 300-year simulation period for the Crown of the Continent in north-central Montana, East Fork of the Bitterroot River in western Montana, and Yellowstone Central Plateau in western Wyoming, USA.ResultsInteracting disturbances reduced overall basal area via increased tree mortality of host species. Wildfire decreased basal area more than beetles or rust, and disturbance interactions modeled under future climate significantly altered landscape basal area as compared with no-disturbance and current climate scenarios. Responses varied among landscapes depending on species composition, sensitivity to fire, and pathogen and beetle suitability and susceptibility.ConclusionsUnderstanding disturbance interactions is critical for managing landscapes because forest responses to wildfires, pathogens, and beetle attacks may offset or exacerbate climate influences, with consequences for wildlife, carbon, and biodiversity.
Liu, Xiaoxi; Huey, L. Gregory; Yokelson, Robert J.; Selimovic, Vanessa; Simpson, Isobel J.; Müller, Markus; Jimenez, Jose L.; Campuzano-Jost, Pedro; Beyersdorf, Andreas J.; Blake, Donald R.; Butterfield, Zachary; Choi, Yonghoon; Crounse, John D.; Day, Douglas A.; Diskin, Glenn S.; Dubey, Manvendra K.; Fortner, Edward; Hanisco, Thomas F.; Hu, Weiwei; King, Laura E.; Kleinman, Lawrence; Meinardi, Simone; Mikoviny, Tomas; Onasch, Timothy B.; Palm, Brett B.; Peischl, Jeff; Pollack, Ilana B.; Ryerson, Thomas B.; Sachse, Glen W.; Sedlacek, Arthur J.; Shilling, John E.; Springston, Stephen; St. Clair, Jason M.; Tanner, David J.; Teng, Alexander P.; Wennberg, Paul O.; Wisthaler, Armin; Wolfe, Glenn M.
Wildfires emit significant amounts of pollutants that degrade air quality. Plumes from three wildfires in the western U.S. were measured from aircraft during the Studies of Emissions and Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RS) and the Biomass Burning Observation Project (BBOP), both in summer 2013. This study reports an extensive set of emission factors (EFs) for over 80 gases and 5 components of submicron particulate matter (PM1) from these temperate wildfires. These include rarely, or never before, measured oxygenated volatile organic compounds and multifunctional organic nitrates. The observed EFs are compared with previous measurements of temperate wildfires, boreal forest fires, and temperate prescribed fires. The wildfires emitted high amounts of PM1 (with organic aerosol (OA) dominating the mass) with an average EF that is more than 2 times the EFs for prescribed fires. The measured EFs were used to estimate the annual wildfire emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, total nonmethane organic compounds, and PM1 from 11 western U.S. states. The estimated gas emissions are generally comparable with the 2011 National Emissions Inventory (NEI). However, our PM1 emission estimate (1530 ± 570 Gg yr-1) is over 3 times that of the NEI PM2.5 estimate and is also higher than the PM2.5 emitted from all other sources in these states in the NEI. This study indicates that the source of OA from biomass burning in the western states is significantly underestimated. In addition, our results indicate that prescribed burning may be an effective method to reduce fine particle emissions.
Holly Johnson Shiralipour; Martha C. Monroe; Michelle Payton
Several government agencies and other natural resource managers have instituted outreach programs to promote wildfire preparedness in wildland-urban interface (WUI) neighborhoods that complement community-wide efforts. To help these programs become more effective, research was undertaken to gain a better understanding of the role that neighbors and neighborhood...
Full Text Available A plume rise algorithm for wildfires was included in WRF-Chem, and applied to look at the impact of intense wildfires during the 2004 Alaska wildfire season on weather simulations using model resolutions of 10 km and 2 km. Biomass burning emissions were estimated using a biomass burning emissions model. In addition, a 1-D, time-dependent cloud model was used online in WRF-Chem to estimate injection heights as well as the vertical distribution of the emission rates. It was shown that with the inclusion of the intense wildfires of the 2004 fire season in the model simulations, the interaction of the aerosols with the atmospheric radiation led to significant modifications of vertical profiles of temperature and moisture in cloud-free areas. On the other hand, when clouds were present, the high concentrations of fine aerosol (PM2.5 and the resulting large numbers of Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN had a strong impact on clouds and cloud microphysics, with decreased precipitation coverage and precipitation amounts during the first 12 h of the integration. During the afternoon, storms were of convective nature and appeared significantly stronger, probably as a result of both the interaction of aerosols with radiation (through an increase in CAPE as well as the interaction with cloud microphysics.
Iraci, L. T.; Yates, E. L.; Tanaka, T.; Roby, M.; Gore, W.; Clements, C. B.; Lareau, N.; Ambrosia, V. G.; Quayle, B.; Schroeder, W.
Biomass burning emissions are an important source of a wide range of trace gases and particles that can impact local, regional and global air quality, climate forcing, biogeochemical cycles and human health. In the western US, wildfires dominate over prescribed fires, contributing to atmospheric trace gas budgets and regional and local air pollution. Limited sampling of emissions from wildfires means western US emission estimates rely largely on data from prescribed fires, which may not be a suitable proxy for wildfire emissions. We report here in-situ measurements of carbon dioxide, methane, ozone and water vapor from the plumes of a variety of wildfires sampled in California in the fire seasons of 2013 and 2014. Included in the analysis are the Rim Fire (August - October 2013, near Yosemite National Park), the Morgan Fire (September 2013, near Clayton, CA), and the El Portal Fire (July - August 2014, in Yosemite National Park), among others. When possible, fires were sampled on multiple days. Emission ratios and estimated emission factors will be presented and discussed in the context of fuel composition, plume structure, and fire phase. Correlations of plume chemical composition to MODIS/VIIRS Fire Radiative Power (FRP) and other remote sensing information will be explored. Furthermore, the role of plumes in delivery of enhanced ozone concentrations to downwind municipalities will be discussed.
Jensen, Daniel; Reager, John T.; Zajic, Brittany; Rousseau, Nick; Rodell, Matthew; Hinkley, Everett
It is generally accepted that year-to-year variability in moisture conditions and drought are linked with increased wildfire occurrence. However, quantifying the sensitivity of wildfire to surface moisture state at seasonal lead-times has been challenging due to the absence of a long soil moisture record with the appropriate coverage and spatial resolution for continental-scale analysis. Here we apply model simulations of surface soil moisture that numerically assimilate observations from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission with the USDA Forest Service’s historical Fire-Occurrence Database over the contiguous United States. We quantify the relationships between pre-fire-season soil moisture and subsequent-year wildfire occurrence by land-cover type and produce annual probable wildfire occurrence and burned area maps at 0.25 degree resolution. Cross-validated results generally indicate a higher occurrence of smaller fires when months preceding fire season are wet, while larger fires are more frequent when soils are dry. This is consistent with the concept of increased fuel accumulation under wet conditions in the pre-season. These results demonstrate the fundamental strength of the relationship between soil moisture and fire activity at long lead-times and are indicative of that relationship’s utility for the future development of national-scale predictive capability.
Santín, Cristina; Doerr, Stefan H; Merino, Agustin; Bucheli, Thomas D; Bryant, Rob; Ascough, Philippa; Gao, Xiaodong; Masiello, Caroline A
Pyrogenic carbon (PyC), produced naturally (wildfire charcoal) and anthropogenically (biochar), is extensively studied due to its importance in several disciplines, including global climate dynamics, agronomy and paleosciences. Charcoal and biochar are commonly used as analogues for each other to infer respective carbon sequestration potentials, production conditions, and environmental roles and fates. The direct comparability of corresponding natural and anthropogenic PyC, however, has never been tested. Here we compared key physicochemical properties (elemental composition, δ 13 C and PAHs signatures, chemical recalcitrance, density and porosity) and carbon sequestration potentials of PyC materials formed from two identical feedstocks (pine forest floor and wood) under wildfire charring- and slow-pyrolysis conditions. Wildfire charcoals were formed under higher maximum temperatures and oxygen availabilities, but much shorter heating durations than slow-pyrolysis biochars, resulting in differing physicochemical properties. These differences are particularly relevant regarding their respective roles as carbon sinks, as even the wildfire charcoals formed at the highest temperatures had lower carbon sequestration potentials than most slow-pyrolysis biochars. Our results challenge the common notion that natural charcoal and biochar are well suited as proxies for each other, and suggest that biochar's environmental residence time may be underestimated when based on natural charcoal as a proxy, and vice versa.
Moody, John A.; Ebel, Brian A.
A catastrophic wildfire in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near Boulder, Colorado provided a unique opportunity to investigate soil conditions immediately after a wildfire and before alteration by rainfall. Measurements of near-surface (θ; and matric suction, ψ), rainfall, and wind velocity were started 8 days after the wildfire began. These measurements established that hyper-dryconditions (θ 3 cm-3; ψ > ~ 3 x 105 cm) existed and provided an in-situ retention curve for these conditions. These conditions exacerbate the effects of water repellency (natural and fire-induced) and limit the effectiveness of capillarity and gravity driven infiltration into fire-affected soils. The important consequence is that given hyper-dryconditions, the critical rewetting process before the first rain is restricted to the diffusion–adsorption of water-vapor. This process typically has a time scale of days to weeks (especially when the hydrologic effects of the ash layer are included) that is longer than the typical time scale (minutes to hours) of some rainstorms, such that under hyper-dryconditions essentially no rain infiltrates. The existence of hyper-dryconditions provides insight into why, frequently during the first rain storm after a wildfire, nearly all rainfall becomes runoff causing extremefloods and debris flows.
Wilkins, J. L.; Pouliot, G.; Foley, K.; Rappold, A.; Pierce, T. E.
Biomass burning has been identified as an important contributor to the degradation of air quality because of its impact on ozone and particulate matter. Two components of the biomass burning inventory, wildfires and prescribed fires are routinely estimated in the national emissions inventory. However, there is a large amount of uncertainty in the development of these emission inventory sectors. We have completed a 5 year set of CMAQ model simulations (2008-2012) in which we have simulated regional air quality with and without the wildfire and prescribed fire inventory. We will examine CMAQ model performance over regions with significant PM2.5 and Ozone contribution from prescribed fires and wildfires. We will also review plume rise to see how it affects model bias and compare CMAQ current fire emissions input to an hourly dataset from FLAMBE.
Olson, Robert W.
Up to 1975-76, Syria's Hafiz al-Asad was successful in consolidating his power, securing the maintenance of his regime, and broadening his base of political power. His system started weakening in 1975 due to increased opposition stemming from Syria's intervention in the Lebanese civil war. (AM)
Salis, Michele; Arca, Bachisio; Bacciu, Valentina; Spano, Donatella; Duce, Pierpaolo; Santoni, Paul; Ager, Alan; Finney, Mark
Characterizing the spatial pattern of large fire occurrence and severity is an important feature of the fire management planning in the Mediterranean region. The spatial characterization of fire probabilities, fire behavior distributions and value changes are key components for quantitative risk assessment and for prioritizing fire suppression resources, fuel treatments and law enforcement. Because of the growing wildfire severity and frequency in recent years (e.g.: Portugal, 2003 and 2005; Italy and Greece, 2007 and 2009), there is an increasing demand for models and tools that can aid in wildfire prediction and prevention. Newer wildfire simulation systems offer promise in this regard, and allow for fine scale modeling of wildfire severity and probability. Several new applications has resulted from the development of a minimum travel time (MTT) fire spread algorithm (Finney, 2002), that models the fire growth searching for the minimum time for fire to travel among nodes in a 2D network. The MTT approach makes computationally feasible to simulate thousands of fires and generate burn probability and fire severity maps over large areas. The MTT algorithm is imbedded in a number of research and fire modeling applications. High performance computers are typically used for MTT simulations, although the algorithm is also implemented in the FlamMap program (www.fire.org). In this work, we described the application of the MTT algorithm to estimate spatial patterns of burn probability and to analyze wildfire severity in three fire prone areas of the Mediterranean Basin, specifically Sardinia (Italy), Sicily (Italy) and Corsica (France) islands. We assembled fuels and topographic data for the simulations in 500 x 500 m grids for the study areas. The simulations were run using 100,000 ignitions under weather conditions that replicated severe and moderate weather conditions (97th and 70th percentile, July and August weather, 1995-2007). We used both random ignition locations
Jason B. Dunham; Amanda E. Rosenberger; Charlie H. Luce; Bruce E. Rieman
Wildfire can influence a variety of stream ecosystem properties. We studied stream temperatures in relation to wildfire in small streams in the Boise River Basin, located in central Idaho, USA. To examine the spatio-temporal aspects of temperature in relation to wildfire, we employed three approaches: a preÂpost fire comparison of temperatures between two sites (one...
Jessica R. Haas
Full Text Available Wildfires can cause significant negative impacts to water quality with resultant consequences for the environment and human health and safety, as well as incurring substantial rehabilitation and water treatment costs. In this paper we will illustrate how state-of-the-art wildfire simulation modeling and geospatial risk assessment methods can be brought to bear to identify and prioritize at-risk watersheds for risk mitigation treatments, in both pre-fire and post-fire planning contexts. Risk assessment results can be particularly useful for prioritizing management of hazardous fuels to lessen the severity and likely impacts of future wildfires, where budgetary and other constraints limit the amount of area that can be treated. Specifically we generate spatially resolved estimates of wildfire likelihood and intensity, and couple that information with spatial data on watershed location and watershed erosion potential to quantify watershed exposure and risk. For a case study location we focus on National Forest System lands in the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States. The Region houses numerous watersheds that are critically important to drinking water supplies and that have been impacted or threatened by large wildfires in recent years. Assessment results are the culmination of a broader multi-year science-management partnership intended to have direct bearing on wildfire management decision processes in the Region. Our results suggest substantial variation in the exposure of and likely effects to highly valued watersheds throughout the Region, which carry significant implications for prioritization. In particular we identified the San Juan National Forest as having the highest concentration of at-risk highly valued watersheds, as well as the greatest amount of risk that can be mitigated via hazardous fuel reduction treatments. To conclude we describe future opportunities and challenges for management of wildfire-watershed interactions.
Papakosta, Panagiota; Botzler, Sebastian; Krug, Kai; Straub, Daniel
Mediterranean climate type areas have always been experiencing fire events. However, population growth and expansion of urban centers into wildland areas during the 20th century (expansion of wildland-urban interface) has increased the threat to humans and their activities. Life and property losses, damage on infrastructure and crops, and forest degradation are some of the damages caused by wildfires. Although fires repeatedly occur along the Mediterranean basin, not all areas have experienced severe consequences. The extent of damage by wildfires is influenced by several factors, such as population density, vegetation type, topography, weather conditions and social preparedness . Wildfire consequence estimation by means of vulnerability and exposure indicators is an essential part of wildfire risk analysis. Vulnerability indicators express the conditions that increase the susceptibility of a site to the impact of wildfires and exposure indicators describe the elements at risk ,. Appropriate indicators to measure wildfire vulnerability and exposure can vary with scale and site. The consequences can be classified into economic, social, environmental and safety, and they can be tangible (human life losses, buildings damaged) or intangible (damage of cultural heritage site). As a consequence, a variety of approaches exist and there is a lack of generalized unified easy-to-implement methodologies. In this study we present a methodology for measuring consequences of wildfires in a Mediterranean area in the mesoscale (1 km² spatial resolution). Vulnerability and exposure indicators covering all consequence levels are identified and their interrelations are stressed. Variables such as building materials, roofing type, and average building values are included in the economic vulnerability level. Safety exposure is expressed by population density, demographic structure, street density and distance to closest fire station. Environmental vulnerability of protected
Full Text Available Terrestrial lichens are unique organisms that are pioneers on bare sand and rock, survive desiccation and reproduce both sexually and asexually. They compete poorly with dense, aggressive vascular flora. Wildfires require organic matter as fuels, are the driving force in perpetuation of the Taiga Ecosystem in a heterogeneous environment and, if left alone, are self controlling. Caribou wintering on the Taiga are dependent on: (1 a terricolous lichen forage supply for most of the winter, (2 a heterogeneous environment to cope with predators and the changing nival environment, and (3 natural wildfires to supply these needs. Wildlife control on the Taiga winter range is not recommended as a management tool for barren-ground caribou.
Full Text Available Pinus massoniana forests bordering South China are often affected by wildfires. Fires cause major changes in soil properties in many forest types but little is known about the effects of fire on soil properties in these P. massoniana forests. Such knowledge is important for providing a comprehensive understanding of wildfire effects on soil patterns and for planning appropriate long-term forest management in these forests. Changes in soil physical properties, carbon, nutrients, and enzymes were investigated in a P. massoniana forest along a wildfire-induced time span consisting of an unburned soil, and soils 0, one, four, and seven years post-fire. Soil (0–10 cm was collected from burned and unburned sites immediately and one, four, and seven years after a wildfire. The wildfire effects on soil physical and chemical properties and enzyme activities were significantly different among treatment variation, time variation, and treatment-by-time interaction. Significant short-term effects on soil physical, chemical, and biological properties were found, which resulted in a deterioration of soil physical properties by increasing soil bulk density and decreasing macropores and capillary moisture. Soil pH increased significantly in the soil one-year post-fire. Carbon, total nitrogen (N and phosphorus (P, and available N and P increased significantly immediately and one year after the wildfire and decreased progressively to concentrations lower than in the unburned soil. Total potassium (K and exchangeable K increased immediately after the wildfire and then continuously decreased along the burned time-span. Urease, acid phosphatase, and catalase activities significantly decreased compared to those in the unburned soil. In fire-prone P. massoniana forests, wildfires may significantly influence soil physical properties, carbon, nutrients, and enzyme activity.
A. V. Bryukhanov
Full Text Available Nowadays aviation is among the most effective ways of early detection and suppression of wildfires. At the moment for the aerial wildfire fighting a few dozen models of aircraft are used worldwide, which are regularly modernized and renewed. In this article, authors give information about the history of fighting wildfires from the air, as well as analyze the current state of the issue with the use of aircraft and helicopter airtankers for firefighting, both at international level and in the territory of the Russian Federation. It is revealed that the most popular in the world still are the ground-based firefighting aircraft (regardless of the class of the carrying capacity. Amphibious firefighting aircraft now exist only in light (carrying capacity up to 5 tons and in medium type (capacity up to 15 tons. Among the helicopter aviation, heavy firefighting helicopters are mostly widely spread, as well as medium multipurpose helicopters, which are, apart from suppression, involved into delivery of people and goods to forest fire sites. The article is devoted to the main directions, according to which the development of aircraft tanker equipment abroad and in Russia occurs. The attention is directed to the most promising developments, and specific recommendations on how to increase the effectiveness of the fire aviation usage in Russia are given. Based on the studies carried out, a conclusion is drawn that for different countries there can be promising different types of firefighting aircraft, considering their landing field infrastructure, characteristics of forests and hydro systems, as well as the total area of the forest fund.
Full Text Available Background Cumulative impacts of wildfires and forest harvesting can cause shifts from closed-crown forest to open woodland in boreal ecosystems. To lower the probability of occurrence of such catastrophic regime shifts, forest logging must decrease when fire frequency increases, so that the combined disturbance rate does not exceed the Holocene maximum. Knowing how climate warming will affect fire regimes is thus crucial to sustainably manage the forest. This study aimed to provide a guide to determine sustainable forest harvesting levels, by reconstructing the Holocene fire history at the northern limit of commercial forestry in Quebec using charcoal particles preserved in lake sediments. Methods Sediment cores were sampled from four lakes located close to the northern limit of commercial forestry in Quebec. The cores were sliced into consecutive 0.5 cm thick subsamples from which 1 cm3 was extracted to count and measure charcoal particles larger than 150 microns. Age-depth models were obtained for each core based on accelerator mass spectroscopy (AMS radiocarbon dates. Holocene fire histories were reconstructed by combining charcoal counts and age-depth models to obtain charcoal accumulation rates and, after statistical treatment, long-term trends in fire occurrence (expressed as number of fires per 1000 years. Results Fire occurrence varied between the four studied sites, but fires generally occurred more often during warm and dry periods of the Holocene, especially during the Holocene Thermal Maximum (7000–3500 cal. BP, when fire occurrence was twice as high as at present. Conclusions The current fire regime in the study area is still within the natural range of variability observed over the Holocene. However, climatic conditions comparable to the Holocene Thermal Maximum could be reached within the next few decades, thus substantially reducing the amount of wood available to the forest industry.
Adam Duarte; Donald J. Brown; Michael R. J. Forstner
High-severity forest fires are increasing in large areas of the southern and western United States as the climate becomes warmer and drier. Natural resource managers need a better understanding of the short- and long-term effects of wildfires on lizard populations, but there is a paucity of studies focused on lizard-wildfire relationships. We used a before-after,...
Leigh B. Lentile; Penelope Morgan; Andrew T. Hudak; Michael J. Bobbitt; Sarah A. Lewis; Alistair M. S. Smith; Peter R. Robichaud
Vegetation response and burn severity were examined following eight large wildfires that burned in 2003 and 2004: two wildfires in California chaparral, two each in dry and moist mixed-conifer forests in Montana, and two in boreal forests in interior Alaska. Our research objectives were: 1) to characterize one year post-fire vegetation recovery relative to initial fire...
Tyron J. Venn; David E. Calkin
Forests in the United States generate many non-market benefits for society that can be enhanced and diminished by wildfire and wildfire management. The Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy (1995, updated 2001), and subsequent Guidance to the Implementation of that policy provided in 2009, require fire management priorities be set on the basis of values to be...
1. Wildfire is an ecological and economic risk for many semi-arid rangelands across the globe. This coupled with extreme wildfire seasons and mega-fires over the last decade have resulted in a call for more pre-suppression management actions. Dormant season grazing has been suggested as a treatment...
Cochrane, M.A.; Moran, C.J.; Wimberly, M.C.; Baer, A.D.; Finney, M.A.; Beckendorf, K.L.; Eidenshink, J.; Zhu, Z.
Human land use practices, altered climates, and shifting forest and fire management policies have increased the frequency of large wildfires several-fold. Mitigation of potential fire behaviour and fire severity have increasingly been attempted through pre-fire alteration of wildland fuels using mechanical treatments and prescribed fires. Despite annual treatment of more than a million hectares of land, quantitative assessments of the effectiveness of existing fuel treatments at reducing the size of actual wildfires or how they might alter the risk of burning across landscapes are currently lacking. Here, we present a method for estimating spatial probabilities of burning as a function of extant fuels treatments for any wildland fire-affected landscape. We examined the landscape effects of more than 72 000 ha of wildland fuel treatments involved in 14 large wildfires that burned 314 000 ha of forests in nine US states between 2002 and 2010. Fuels treatments altered the probability of fire occurrence both positively and negatively across landscapes, effectively redistributing fire risk by changing surface fire spread rates and reducing the likelihood of crowning behaviour. Trade offs are created between formation of large areas with low probabilities of increased burning and smaller, well-defined regions with reduced fire risk.
Kostas Kalabokidis; Alan Ager; Mark Finney; Nikos Athanasis; Palaiologos Palaiologou; Christos Vasilakos
We describe a Web-GIS wildfire prevention and management platform (AEGIS) developed as an integrated and easy-to-use decision support tool to manage wildland fire hazards in Greece (http://aegis.aegean.gr). The AEGIS platform assists with early fire warning, fire planning, fire control and coordination of firefighting forces by providing online access to...
Sharon M. Hood; Sheri L. Smith; Daniel R. Cluck
Fire injury was characterized and survival monitored for 5677 trees >25cm DBH from five wildfires in California that occurred between 2000 and 2004. Logistic regression models for predicting the probability of mortality 5-years after fire were developed for incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens (Torr.) Florin), white fir (Abies concolor (Gord. & Glend.) Lindl. ex...
Jian Yang; Peter J. Weisberg; Thomas E. Dilts; E. Louise Loudermilk; Robert M. Scheller; Alison Stanton; Carl Skinner
Strategic fire and fuel management planning benefits from detailed understanding of how wildfire occurrences are distributed spatially under current climate, and from predictive models of future wildfire occurrence given climate change scenarios. In this study, we fitted historical wildfire occurrence data from 1986 to 2009 to a suite of spatial point process (SPP)...
Moody, J.A.; Dungan, Smith J.; Ragan, B.W.
 Increased erosion is a well-known response after wildfire. To predict and to model erosion on a landscape scale requires knowledge of the critical shear stress for the initiation of motion of soil particles. As this soil property is temperature-dependent, a quantitative relation between critical shear stress and the temperatures to which the soils have been subjected during a wildfire is required. In this study the critical shear stress was measured in a recirculating flume using samples of forest soil exposed to different temperatures (40??-550??C) for 1 hour. Results were obtained for four replicates of soils derived from three different types of parent material (granitic bedrock, sandstone, and volcanic tuffs). In general, the relation between critical shear stress and temperature can be separated into three different temperature ranges (275??C), which are similar to those for water repellency and temperature. The critical shear stress was most variable (1.0-2.0 N m-2) for temperatures 2.0 N m-2) between 175?? and 275??C, and was essentially constant (0.5-0.8 N m-2) for temperatures >275??C. The changes in critical shear stress with temperature were found to be essentially independent of soil type and suggest that erosion processes in burned watersheds can be modeled more simply than erosion processes in unburned watersheds. Wildfire reduces the spatial variability of soil erodibility associated with unburned watersheds by eliminating the complex effects of vegetation in protecting soils and by reducing the range of cohesion associated with different types of unburned soils. Our results indicate that modeling the erosional response after a wildfire depends primarily on determining the spatial distribution of the maximum soil temperatures that were reached during the wildfire. Copyright 2005 by the American Geophysical Union.
This paper presents airborne measurements of multiple atmospheric trace constituents including greenhouse gases (such as CO2, CH4, O3) and biomass burning tracers (such as CO, CH3CN) downwind of an exceptionally large wildfire. In summer 2013, the Rim wildfire, ignited just west of the Yosemite National Park, California, and burned over 250,000 acres of the forest during the 2-month period (17 August to 24 October) before it was extinguished. The Rim wildfire plume was intercepted by flights carried out by the NASA Ames Alpha Jet Atmospheric eXperiment (AJAX) on 29 August and the NASA DC-8, as part of SEAC4RS (Studies of Emissions, Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys), on 26 and 27 August during its intense, primary burning period. AJAX revisited the wildfire on 10 September when the conditions were increasingly smoldering, with slower growth. The more extensive payload of the DC-8 helped to bridge key measurements that were not available as part of AJAX (e. g. CO). Data analyses are presented in terms of emission ratios (ER), emission factors (EF) and combustion efficiency and are compared with previous wildfire studies. ERs were 8.0 ppb CH4/(ppm CO2) on 26 August, 6.5 ppb CH4 (ppm CO2)1 on 29 August and 18.3 ppb CH4 (ppm CO2)1 on 10 September 2013. The increase in CH4 ER from 6.5 to 8.0 ppb CH4/(ppm CO2) during the primary burning period to 18.3 ppb CH4/(ppm CO2) during the fire's slower growth period likely indicates enhanced CH4 emissions from increased smoldering combustion relative to flaming combustion. Given the magnitude of the Rim wildfire, the impacts it had on regional air quality and the limited sampling of wildfire emissions in the western United States to date, this study provides a valuable dataset to support forestry and regional air quality management, including observations of ERs of a wide number of species from the Rim wildfire.
Stephens, Scott L.; Boerner, Ralph E.J.; Maghaddas, Jason J.; Maghaddas, Emily E.Y.; Collins, Brandon M.; Dow, Christopher B.; Edminster, Carl; Fiedler, Carl E.; Fry, Danny L.; Hartsough, Bruce R.; Keeley, Jon E.; Knapp, Eric E.; McIver, James D.; Skinner, Carl N.; Youngblood, Andrew P.
Using forests to sequester carbon in response to anthropogenically induced climate change is being considered across the globe. A recent U.S. executive order mandated that all federal agencies account for sequestration and emissions of greenhouse gases, highlighting the importance of understanding how forest carbon stocks are influenced by wildfire. This paper reports the effects of the most common forest fuel reduction treatments on carbon pools composed of live and dead biomass as well as potential wildfire emissions from six different sites in four western U.S. states. Additionally, we predict the median forest product life spans and uses of materials removed during mechanical treatments. Carbon loss from modeled wildfire-induced tree mortality was lowest in the mechanical plus prescribed fire treatments, followed by the prescribed fire-only treatments. Wildfire emissions varied from 10–80 Mg/ha and were lowest in the prescribed fire and mechanical followed by prescribed fire treatments at most sites. Mean biomass removals per site ranged from approximately 30–60 dry Mg/ha; the median lives of products in first use varied considerably (from 50 years). Our research suggests most of the benefits of increased fire resistance can be achieved with relatively small reductions in current carbon stocks. Retaining or growing larger trees also reduced the vulnerability of carbon loss from wildfire. In addition, modeled vulnerabilities to carbon losses and median forest product life spans varied considerably across our study sites, which could be used to help prioritize treatment implementation.
Varner, Johanna; Lambert, Mallory S.; Horns, Joshua J.; Laverty, Sean; Dizney, Laurie; Beever, Erik; Dearing, M. Denise
Wildfires are increasing in frequency and severity as a result of climate change in many ecosystems; however, effects of altered disturbance regimes on wildlife remain poorly quantified. Here, we leverage an unexpected opportunity to investigate how fire affects the occupancy and abundance of a climate-sensitive habitat specialist, the American pika (Ochotona princeps). We determine the effects of a fire on microclimates within talus and explore habitat factors promoting persistence and abundance in fire-affected habitat. During the fire, temperatures in talus interstices remained below 19°C, suggesting that animals could have survived in situ. Within 2 years, pikas were widely distributed throughout burned areas and did not appear to be physiologically stressed at severely burned sites. Furthermore, pika densities were better predicted by topographic variables known to affect this species than by metrics of fire severity. This widespread distribution may reflect quick vegetation recovery and the fact that the fire did not alter the talus microclimates in the following years. Together, these results highlight the value of talus as a thermal refuge for small animals during and after fire. They also underscore the importance of further study in individual species’ responses to typical and altered disturbance regimes.
Bonora, Laura; Conese, Claudio; Barbati, Anna
Fires and wildfires represent an element of vulnerability for forests, considering that have now reached a level beyond which further burning would seriously endanger the ecosystem services and their sustainable management. It is fundamental to support fire-fighting Centres by giving them tools, useful to faces future trends; in this sense the first step is to examine technical and operative procedures to evaluate their strong and weak aspects, in collaboration with personnel responsible of risk management, suppression coordination and patrol responsible of direct attack. The aims this work is to identify present elements of strength ad problematic aspects to tuning the wildfire suppression actions to future changes; this is a crucial challenge both for policy and territory planners and managers. Historical investigation lines on forest fire covered the basilar and fundamental dynamics which understanding was necessary to confine and fight the wildfire phenomenon. At the present all the competences, knowledge and connections acquired are translating and including in the Plans, sharing innovative strategies -with the "direct involved actors"- trying to decrease the fire trend. Stakeholders underlined that collaboration between research and territorial Institutions are producing positive results, showing the conceptual rightness and the well-run of the in-progress implementations. The Italian framework of wildfire prevention plans is very peculiar because the Plans related to prevention and active intervention procedure are coincident. Normative, procedural, economic and logistic aspects are considered and handled in the same general document; each year the local structures, designed by the Regions, have in charge the draft of the operative plan, defining and managing the means and patrols distribution and turnover. In the present work 3 Italian Regions (Tuscany, Puglia and Sardinia, with different territorial and vegetation characteristics and affected by different
Costa, R.; Pereira, M. G.; Caramelo, L.; Vega Orozco, C.; Kanevski, M.
Several studies have shown that wildfires in Portugal presenthigh temporal as well as high spatial variability (Pereira et al., 2005, 2011). The identification and characterization of spatio-temporal clusters contributes to a comprehensivecharacterization of the fire regime and to improve the efficiency of fire prevention and combat activities. The main goalsin this studyare: (i) to detect the spatio-temporal clusters of burned area; and, (ii) to characterize these clusters along with the role of human and environmental factors. The data were supplied by the National Forest Authority(AFN, 2011) and comprises: (a)the Portuguese Rural Fire Database, PRFD, (Pereira et al., 2011) for the 1980-2007period; and, (b) the national mapping burned areas between 1990 and 2009. In this work, in order to complement the more common cluster analysis algorithms, an alternative approach based onscan statistics and on the permutation modelwas used. This statistical methodallows the detection of local excess events and to test if such an excess can reasonably have occurred by chance.Results obtained for different simulations performed for different spatial and temporal windows are presented, compared and interpreted.The influence of several fire factors such as (climate, vegetation type, etc.) is also assessed. Pereira, M.G., Trigo, R.M., DaCamara, C.C., Pereira, J.M.C., Leite, S.M., 2005:"Synoptic patterns associated with large summer forest fires in Portugal".Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 129, 11-25. Pereira, M. G., Malamud, B. D., Trigo, R. M., and Alves, P. I.: The history and characteristics of the 1980-2005 Portuguese rural fire database, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 3343-3358, doi:10.5194/nhess-11-3343-2011, 2011 AFN, 2011: AutoridadeFlorestalNacional (National Forest Authority). Available at http://www.afn.min-agricultura.pt/portal.
Costa, Ricardo; Caramelo, Liliana; Pereira, Mário
Several studies demonstrate that wildfires in Portugal present high temporal and spatial variability as well as cluster behavior (Pereira et al., 2005, 2011). This study aims to contribute to the characterization of the fire regime in Portugal with the multivariate statistical analysis of the time series of number of fires and area burned in Portugal during the 1980 - 2009 period. The data used in the analysis is an extended version of the Rural Fire Portuguese Database (PRFD) (Pereira et al, 2011), provided by the National Forest Authority (Autoridade Florestal Nacional, AFN), the Portuguese Forest Service, which includes information for more than 500,000 fire records. There are many multiple advanced techniques for examining the relationships among multiple time series at the same time (e.g., canonical correlation analysis, principal components analysis, factor analysis, path analysis, multiple analyses of variance, clustering systems). This study compares and discusses the results obtained with these different techniques. Pereira, M.G., Trigo, R.M., DaCamara, C.C., Pereira, J.M.C., Leite, S.M., 2005: "Synoptic patterns associated with large summer forest fires in Portugal". Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 129, 11-25. Pereira, M. G., Malamud, B. D., Trigo, R. M., and Alves, P. I.: The history and characteristics of the 1980-2005 Portuguese rural fire database, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 3343-3358, doi:10.5194/nhess-11-3343-2011, 2011 This work is supported by European Union Funds (FEDER/COMPETE - Operational Competitiveness Programme) and by national funds (FCT - Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) under the project FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-022692, the project FLAIR (PTDC/AAC-AMB/104702/2008) and the EU 7th Framework Program through FUME (contract number 243888).
Cha, DongHwan; Wang, Xin; Kim, Jeong Woo
Hotspot analysis was implemented to find regions in the province of Alberta (Canada) with high frequency Cloud to Ground (CG) lightning strikes clustered together. Generally, hotspot regions are located in the central, central east, and south central regions of the study region. About 94% of annual lightning occurred during warm months (June to August) and the daily lightning frequency was influenced by the diurnal heating cycle. The association rule mining technique was used to investigate frequent CG lightning patterns, which were verified by similarity measurement to check the patterns' consistency. The similarity coefficient values indicated that there were high correlations throughout the entire study period. Most wildfires (about 93%) in Alberta occurred in forests, wetland forests, and wetland shrub areas. It was also found that lightning and wildfires occur in two distinct areas: frequent wildfire regions with a high frequency of lightning, and frequent wild-fire regions with a low frequency of lightning. Further, the preference index (PI) revealed locations where the wildfires occurred more frequently than in other class regions. The wildfire hazard area was estimated with the CG lightning hazard map and specific land use types.
Maudlin, L. C.; Wang, Z.; Jonsson, H. H.; Sorooshian, A.
Size-resolved aerosol composition measurements were conducted at a coastal site in central California during the Nucleation in California Experiment (NiCE) between July and August of 2013. The site is just east of ship and marine emission sources and is also influenced by continental pollution and wildfires, such as those near the California-Oregon border which occurred near the end of NiCE. Two micro-orifice uniform deposit impactors (MOUDIs) were used, and water-soluble and elemental compositions were measured. The five most abundant water-soluble species (in decreasing order) were chloride, sodium, non-sea salt (nss) sulfate, ammonium, and nitrate. During wildfire periods, nss K mass concentrations were not enhanced as strongly as other species in the sub-micrometer stages and even decreased in the super-micrometer stages; species other than nss K are more reliable tracers for biomass burning in this region. Chloride levels were reduced in the fire sets likely due to chloride depletion by inorganic and organic acids that exhibited elevated levels in transported plumes. During wildfire periods, the mass size distribution of most dicarboxylic acids changed from unimodal to bimodal with peaks in the 0.32 μm and 1.0-1.8 μm stages. Furthermore, sulfate's peak concentration shifted from the 0.32 μm to 0.56 μm stage, and nitrate also shifted to larger sizes (1.0 μm to 1.8-3.2 μm stages). Mass concentrations of numerous soil tracer species (e.g., Si, Fe) were strongly enhanced in samples influenced by wildfires, especially in the sub-micrometer range. Airborne cloud water data confirm that soil species were associated with fire plumes transported south along the coast. In the absence of biomass burning, cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) composition is dominated by nss sulfate and ammonium, and the water-soluble organic fraction is dominated by methanesulfonate, whereas for the samples influenced by wildfires, ammonium becomes the dominant overall species, and
Bennett, Lauren T; Bruce, Matthew J; Machunter, Josephine; Kohout, Michele; Krishnaraj, Saravanan Jangammanaidu; Aponte, Cristina
. Decreased live tree carbon and increased reliance on younger cohorts for carbon recovery after high-severity wildfire could increase vulnerabilities to imminent fires, leading to decisions about interventions to maintain the productivity of some stands. Our multi-indicator assessment also highlights the importance of considering all carbon pools, particularly pyrogenic reservoirs like soils, when evaluating the potential for prescribed fire regimes to mitigate the carbon costs of wildfires in fire-prone landscapes. © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America.
Da Silva, Sergio; Nunes, Mauricio
We examine Latin American foreign exchange intervention in a framework where the exchange rate regime is endogenous and there exists an inefficient, equilibrium foreign exchange intervention bias. The model suggests that greater central bank independence is associated with lesser intervention in the foreign exchange market, and also with leaning-against-the-wind intervention. Both results are confirmed by data from 13 Latin American countries.
Syphard, Alexandra D.; Brennan, Teresa J.; Keeley, Jon E.
Structure loss to wildfire is a serious problem in wildland-urban interface areas across the world. Laboratory experiments suggest that fire-resistant building construction and design could be important for reducing structure destruction, but these need to be evaluated under real wildfire conditions, especially relative to other factors. Using empirical data from destroyed and surviving structures from large wildfires in southern California, we evaluated the relative importance of building construction and structure age compared to other local and landscape-scale variables associated with structure survival. The local-scale analysis showed that window preparation was especially important but, in general, creating defensible space adjacent to the home was as important as building construction. At the landscape scale, structure density and structure age were the two most important factors affecting structure survival, but there was a significant interaction between them. That is, young structure age was most important in higher-density areas where structure survival overall was more likely. On the other hand, newer-construction structures were less likely to survive wildfires at lower density. Here, appropriate defensible space near the structure and accessibility to major roads were important factors. In conclusion, community safety is a multivariate problem that will require a comprehensive solution involving land use planning, fire-safe construction, and property maintenance.
Wilkinson, S. L.; Moore, P. A.; Flannigan, M. D.; Wotton, B. M.; Waddington, J. M.
Climate change mediated drying of boreal peatlands is expected to enhance peatland afforestation and wildfire vulnerability. The water table depth-afforestation feedback represents a positive feedback that can enhance peat drying and consolidation and thereby increase peat burn severity; exacerbating the challenges and costs of wildfire suppression efforts and potentially shifting the peatland to a persistent source of atmospheric carbon. To address this wildfire management challenge, we examined burn severity across a gradient of drying in a black spruce dominated peatland that was partially drained in 1975-1980 and burned in the 2016 Fort McMurray Horse River wildfire. We found that post-drainage black spruce annual ring width increased substantially with intense drainage. Average (±SD) basal diameter was 2.6 ± 1.2 cm, 3.2 ± 2.0 cm and 7.9 ± 4.7 cm in undrained (UD), moderately drained (MD) and heavily drained (HD) treatments, respectively. Depth of burn was significantly different between treatments (p threshold will aid in developing effective adaptive management techniques and protecting boreal peatland carbon stocks.
Luís Ramos dos Santos
Conclusion: Use of hyperbaric oxygen appears to have reduced the incidence of the syndrome. This seems to be the first Portuguese series reporting use of hyperbaric oxygen in carbon monoxide poisoning due to wildfires. The authors intend to alert to the importance of referral of these patients because the indications and benefits of this treatment are well documented. This is especially important given the ever-growing issue of wildfires in Portugal.
Li, Bei; Deng, Jun; Xiao, Yang; Zhai, Xiaowei; Shu, Chi-Min; Gao, Wei
Coalfield wildfires are serious catastrophes associated with mining activities. Generally, the coal wildfire areas have tremendous heat accumulation regions. Eliminating the internal heat is an effective method for coal wildfire control. In this study, high thermal conductivity component of a heat pipe (HP) was used for enhancing the heat dissipation efficiency and impeding heat accumulation. An experimental system was set up to analyze the thermal resistance network of the coal-HP system. A coal-HP heat removal model was also established for studying the heat transfer performance of HP on the coal pile. The HP exhibited outstanding cooling performance in the initial period, resulting in the highest temperature difference between the coal pile and ambient temperature. However, the effect of the HP on the distribution temperature of coal piles decreased with increasing distance. The largest decline in the coal temperature occurred in a 20-mm radius of the HP; the temperature decreased from 84.3 to 50.9 °C, a decline of 39.6%. The amount of energy transfer by the HP after 80 h was 1.0865, 2.1680, and 3.3649 MJ under the initial heat source temperatures of 100, 150, and 200 °C, respectively. The coal was governed below 80 °C with the HP under the experimental conditions. It revealed that the HP had a substantial effect on thermal removal and inhibited spontaneous coal combustion. In addition, this paper puts forward the technological path of HP to control typical coalfield wildfire. [Figure not available: see fulltext.
Harrison, Evan T; Dyer, Fiona; Wright, Daniel W; Levings, Chris
Wildfires commonly result in an increase in stream turbidity. However, the influence of pre-fire land-use practices on post-fire stream turbidity is not well understood. The Lower Cotter Catchment (LCC) in south-eastern Australia is part of the main water supply catchment for Canberra with land in the catchment historically managed for a mix of conservation (native eucalypt forest) and pine (Pinus radiata) plantation. In January 2003, wildfires burned almost all of the native and pine forests in the LCC. A study was established in 2005 to determine stream post-fire turbidity recovery within the native and pine forest areas of the catchment. Turbidity data loggers were deployed in two creeks within burned native forest and burned pine forest areas to determine turbidity response to fire in these areas. As a part of the study, we also determined changes in bare soil in the native and pine forest areas since the fire. The results suggest that the time, it takes turbidity levels to decrease following wildfire, is dependent upon the preceding land-use. In the LCC, turbidity levels decreased more rapidly in areas previously with native vegetation compared to areas which were previously used for pine forestry. This is likely because of a higher percentage of bare soil areas for a longer period of time in the ex-pine forest estate and instream stores of fine sediment from catchment erosion during post-fire storm events. The results of our study show that the previous land-use may exert considerable control over on-going turbidity levels following a wildfire.
particular year. The probability model is based on the wildfire point process. Assuming a smooth intensity function, a locally weighted likelihood fit is used, which incorporates the group effect. A logit model is used under the assumption of the existence
Maryam Tabatabaei; John B. Loomis; Daniel W. McCollum
We estimated Colorado householdsâ nonmarket values for two forest management options for reducing intensity of future wildfires and associated nonmarket environmental effects wildfires. The first policy is the traditional harvesting of pine beetle-killed trees and burning of the slash piles of residual materials on-site. The second involves harvesting but moving the...
Holz, Andrés; Paritsis, Juan; Mundo, Ignacio A; Veblen, Thomas T; Kitzberger, Thomas; Williamson, Grant J; Aráoz, Ezequiel; Bustos-Schindler, Carlos; González, Mauro E; Grau, H Ricardo; Quezada, Juan M
The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is the main driver of climate variability at mid to high latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, affecting wildfire activity, which in turn pollutes the air and contributes to human health problems and mortality, and potentially provides strong feedback to the climate system through emissions and land cover changes. Here we report the largest Southern Hemisphere network of annually resolved tree ring fire histories, consisting of 1,767 fire-scarred trees from 97 sites (from 22 °S to 54 °S) in southern South America (SAS), to quantify the coupling of SAM and regional wildfire variability using recently created multicentury proxy indices of SAM for the years 1531-2010 AD. We show that at interannual time scales, as well as at multidecadal time scales across 37-54 °S, latitudinal gradient elevated wildfire activity is synchronous with positive phases of the SAM over the years 1665-1995. Positive phases of the SAM are associated primarily with warm conditions in these biomass-rich forests, in which widespread fire activity depends on fuel desiccation. Climate modeling studies indicate that greenhouse gases will force SAM into its positive phase even if stratospheric ozone returns to normal levels, so that climate conditions conducive to widespread fire activity in SAS will continue throughout the 21st century.
Gao, Honglian; Jaffe, Daniel A.
The goal of this paper is to evaluate the accuracy of the commonly used ozone (O3) instrument (the ultraviolet (UV) photometer) against a Federal Reference Method (Nitric Oxide -chemiluminescence) for ozone measurement in wildfire smoke plumes. We carried out simultaneous ozone measurement with two UV O3 photometers and one nitric oxide-chemiluminescence (NO-CL) ozone detectors during wildfire season (Aug. 1-Sept. 30) in 2015 at the Mount Bachelor Observatory (MBO, 2763 m above mean sea level, Oregon, USA). The UV O3 shows good agreement and excellent correlation to NO-CL O3, with linear regression slopes close to unity and R2 of 0.92 for 1-h average data and R2 of 0.93 for O3 daily maximum 8-h average (MDA8). During this two-month period we identified 35 wildfire events. Ozone enhancements in those wildfire plumes measured by NO-CL O3 and UV O3 monitors also show good agreement and excellent linear correlation, with a slope and R2 of 1.03 and 0.86 for O3 enhancements (ΔO3) and 1.00 and 0.98 for carbon monoxide (CO)-normalized ozone enhancement ratios (ΔO3/ΔCO), respectively. Overall, the UV O3 was found to have a positive bias of 4.7 ± 2.8 ppbv compared to the NO-CL O3. The O3 bias between NO-CL O3 and UV O3 is independent of wildfire plume tracers such as CO, particulate matter (PM1), aerosol scattering, and ultrafine particles. The results demonstrate that the UV O3 absorbance method is reliable, even in highly concentrated wildfire plumes.
Barros, Ana; Ager, Alan; Preisler, Haiganoush; Day, Michelle; Spies, Tom; Bolte, John
Agent-based models (ABM) allow users to examine the long-term effects of agent decisions in complex systems where multiple agents and processes interact. This framework has potential application to study the dynamics of coupled natural and human systems where multiple stimuli determine trajectories over both space and time. We used Envision, a landscape based ABM, to analyze long-term wildfire dynamics in a heterogeneous, multi-owner landscape in Oregon, USA. Landscape dynamics are affected by land management policies, actors decisions, and autonomous processes such as vegetation succession, wildfire, or at a broader scale, climate change. Key questions include: 1) How are landscape dynamics influenced by policies and institutions, and 2) How do land management policies and actor decisions interact to produce intended and unintended consequences with respect to wildfire on fire-prone landscapes. Applying Envision to address these questions required the development of a wildfire module that could accurately simulate wildfires on the heterogeneous landscapes within the study area in terms of replicating historical fire size distribution, spatial distribution and fire intensity. In this paper we describe the development and testing of a mechanistic fire simulation system within Envision and application of the model on a 3.2 million fire prone landscape in central Oregon USA. The core fire spread equations use the Minimum Travel Time algorithm developed by M Finney. The model operates on a daily time step and uses a fire prediction system based on the relationship between energy release component and historical fires. Specifically, daily wildfire probabilities and sizes are generated from statistical analyses of historical fires in relation to daily ERC values. The MTT was coupled with the vegetation dynamics module in Envision to allow communication between the respective subsystem and effectively model fire effects and vegetation dynamics after a wildfire. Canopy and
Ernst, E. J.; Bourgeau-Chavez, L. L.; Kane, E. S.; Wagenbrenner, J. W.; Endres, S.
The Arctic-boreal region is experiencing changes in climate, trending toward warmer summers, resulting in a greater occurrence of wildfires with longer burning periods and higher intensities. Drought-like conditions have dried surface fuels, leading to a higher probability of ignition, even in lowland peatlands. Previous work has been done to characterize post-fire succession rates in Arctic-boreal upland sites, but much less is known of fire effects and early successional dynamics in lowlands. Wildland fires are the number one disturbance in Canada's Northwest Territories (NWT), which characteristically burn at high intensities with large flame fronts, and result in some of the biggest wildfires in the world. Areas surrounding the Great Slave Lake, NWT—including parts of the Taiga Plains, Taiga Shield, and Boreal Plains ecozones—experienced exceptional wildfire activity in 2014 and 2015. We characterized burn severity of the bog and fen peat surface and canopy layers at several burned sites. To determine if the severe ground or crown wildfires were stand-replacing events, we characterized post-fire vegetation in peatlands in 2015 and 2016 based on seedling regeneration. We stratified sites according to estimated water residence times across the three ecozones and made comparisons between data collected at the same sites across years. This work adds much needed context for post-fire succession in boreal peatland ecosystems, as the susceptibility of these systems to burning will continue to increase with a warming climate.
Rengers, Francis K.; Tucker, G.E.; Moody, J.A.; Ebel, Brian
Erosion following a wildfire is much greater than background erosion in forests because of wildfire-induced changes to soil erodibility and water infiltration. While many previous studies have documented post-wildfire erosion with point and small plot-scale measurements, the spatial distribution of post-fire erosion patterns at the watershed scale remains largely unexplored. In this study lidar surveys were collected periodically in a small, first-order drainage basin over a period of 2 years following a wildfire. The study site was relatively steep with slopes ranging from 17° to > 30°. During the study period, several different types of rain storms occurred on the site including low-intensity frontal storms (2.4 mm h−1) and high-intensity convective thunderstorms (79 mm h−1). These storms were the dominant drivers of erosion. Erosion resulting from dry ravel and debris flows was notably absent at the site. Successive lidar surveys were subtracted from one another to obtain digital maps of topographic change between surveys. The results show an evolution in geomorphic response, such that the erosional response after rain storms was strongly influenced by the previous erosional events and pre-fire site morphology. Hillslope and channel roughness increased over time, and the watershed armored as coarse cobbles and boulders were exposed. The erosional response was spatially nonuniform; shallow erosion from hillslopes (87% of the study area) contributed 3 times more sediment volume than erosion from convergent areas (13% of the study area). However, the total normalized erosion depth (volume/area) was highest in convergent areas. From a detailed understanding of the spatial locations of erosion, we made inferences regarding the processes driving erosion. It appears that hillslope erosion is controlled by rain splash (for detachment) and overland flow (for transport and quasi-channelized erosion), with the sites of highest erosion corresponding to locations
An introduction into the problem of two-phase flows is presented. Flow regimes arizing in two-phase flows are described, and classification of these regimes is given. Structures of vertical and horizontal two-phase flows and a method of their identification using regime maps are considered. The limits of this method application are discussed. The flooding phenomena and phenomena of direction change (flow reversal) of the flow and interrelation of these phenomena as well as transitions from slug regime to churn one and from churn one to annular one in vertical flows are described. Problems of phase transitions and equilibrium are discussed. Flow regimes in tubes where evaporating liquid is running, are described [ru
Matthew P. Thompson
Full Text Available How wildfires are managed is a key determinant of long-term socioecological resiliency and the ability to live with fire. Safe and effective response to fire requires effective pre-fire planning, which is the main focus of this paper. We review general principles of effective federal fire management planning in the U.S., and introduce a framework for incident response planning consistent with these principles. We contextualize this framework in relation to a wildland fire management continuum based on federal fire management policy in the U.S. The framework leverages recent advancements in spatial wildfire risk assessment—notably the joint concepts of in situ risk and source risk—and integrates assessment results with additional geospatial information to develop and map strategic response zones. We operationalize this framework in a geographic information system (GIS environment based on landscape attributes relevant to fire operations, and define Potential wildland fire Operational Delineations (PODs as the spatial unit of analysis for strategic response. Using results from a recent risk assessment performed on several National Forests in the Southern Sierra Nevada area of California, USA, we illustrate how POD-level summaries of risk metrics can reduce uncertainty surrounding potential losses and benefits given large fire occurrence, and lend themselves naturally to design of fire and fuel management strategies. To conclude we identify gaps, limitations, and uncertainties, and prioritize future work to support safe and effective incident response.
Schnase, John; Carroll, Mark; Gill, Roger; Wooten, Margaret; Weber, Keith; Blair, Kindra; May, Jeffrey; Toombs, William
NASA Wrangler is a loosely-coupled, event driven, highly parallel data aggregation service designed to take advantageof the elastic resource capabilities of cloud computing. Wrangler automatically collects Earth observational data, climate model outputs, derived remote sensing data products, and historic biophysical data for pre-, active-, and post-wildfire decision making. It is a core service of the RECOVER decision support system, which is providing rapid-response GIS analytic capabilities to state and local government agencies. Wrangler reduces to minutes the time needed to assemble and deliver crucial wildfire-related data.
Lee, Huikyo; Jeong, Su-Jong; Kalashnikova, Olga; Tosca, Mika; Kim, Sang-Woo; Kug, Jong-Seong
Aerosol plumes from wildfires affect the Earth's climate system through regulation of the radiative budget and clouds. However, optical properties of aerosols from individual wildfire smoke plumes and their resultant impact on regional climate are highly variable. Therefore, there is a critical need for observations that can constrain the partitioning between different types of aerosols. Here we present the apparent influence of regional ecosystem types on optical properties of wildfire-induced aerosols based on remote sensing observations from two satellite instruments and three ground stations. The independent observations commonly show that the ratio of the absorbing aerosols is significantly lower in smoke plumes from the Maritime Continent than those from Central Africa, so that their impacts on regional climate are different. The observed light-absorbing properties of wildfire-induced aerosols are explained by dominant ecosystem types such as wet peatlands for the Maritime Continent and dry savannah for Central Africa, respectively. These results suggest that the wildfire-aerosol-climate feedback processes largely depend on the terrestrial environments from which the fires originate. These feedbacks also interact with climate under greenhouse warming. Our analysis shows that aerosol optical properties retrieved based on satellite observations are critical in assessing wildfire-induced aerosols forcing in climate models. The optical properties of carbonaceous aerosol mixtures used by state-of-the-art chemistry climate models may overestimate emissions for absorbing aerosols from wildfires over the Maritime Continent.
McCluskey, Christina S.
Insufficient knowledge regarding the sources and number concentrations of atmospheric ice nucleating particles (INP) leads to large uncertainties in understanding the interaction of aerosols with cloud processes, such as cloud life time and precipitation rates. This study utilizes measurements of INP from a diverse set of biomass burning events to better understand INP associated with biomass burning in the U.S. Prescribed burns in Georgia and Colorado, two Colorado wildfires and two laboratory burns were monitored for INP number concentrations. The relationship between nINP and total particle number concentrations, evident within prescribed burning plumes, was degraded within aged smoke plumes from the wildfires, limiting the utility of this relationship for comparing laboratory and field data. Larger particles, represented by n500nm, are less vulnerable to plume processing and have previously been evaluated for their relation to nINP. Our measurements indicated that for a given n500nm, nINP associated with the wildfires were nearly an order of magnitude higher than nINP found in prescribed fire emissions. Reasons for the differences between INP characteristics in these emissions were explored, including variations in combustion efficiency, fuel type, transport time and environmental conditions. Combustion efficiency and fuel type were eliminated as controlling factors by comparing samples with contrasting combustion efficiencies and fuel types. Transport time was eliminated because the expected impact would be to reduce n500nm, thus resulting in the opposite effect from the observed change. Bulk aerosol chemical composition analyses support the potential role of elevated soil dust particle concentrations during the fires, contributing to the population of INP, but the bulk analyses do not target INP composition directly. It is hypothesized that both hardwood burning and soil lofting are responsible for the elevated production of INP in the Colorado wildfires in
McGuire, A. D.; Rupp, T. S.; Kurz, W.
Disturbances in arctic and boreal terrestrial ecosystems influence services provided by these ecosystems to society. In particular, changes in disturbance regimes in northern latitudes have uncertain consequences for the climate system. A major challenge for the scientific community is to develop the capability to predict how the frequency, severity and resultant impacts of disturbance regimes will change in response to future changes in climate projected for northern high latitudes. Here we compare what is known about drivers and impacts of wildfire, phytophagous insect pests, and thermokarst disturbance to illustrate the complexities in predicting future changes in disturbance regimes and their impacts in arctic and boreal regions. Much of the research on predicting fire has relied on the use of drivers related to fire weather. However, changes in vegetation, such as increases in broadleaf species, associated with intensified fire regimes have the potential to influence future fire regimes through negative feedbacks associated with reduced flammability. Phytophagous insect outbreaks have affected substantial portions of the boreal region in the past, but frequently the range of the tree host is larger than the range of the insect. There is evidence that a number of insect species are expanding their range in response to climate change. Major challenges to predicting outbreaks of phytophagous insects include modeling the effects of climate change on insect growth and maturation, winter mortality, plant host health, the synchrony of insect life stages and plant host phenology, and changes in the ranges of insect pests. Moreover, Earth System Models often simplify the representation of vegetation characteristics, e.g. the use of plant functional types, providing insufficient detail to link to insect population models. Thermokarst disturbance occurs when the thawing of ice-rich permafrost results in substantial ground subsidence. In the boreal forest, thermokarst can
Gatebe, C. K.; Ichoku, C. M.; Poudal, R.; Roman, M. O.; Wilcox, E.
Wildfires are recognized as a key physical disturbance of terrestrial ecosystems and a major source of atmospheric trace gases and aerosols. They are known to produce changes in landscape patterns and lead to changes in surface albedo that can persist for long periods. Here, we estimate the darkening of surface albedo due to wildfires in different land cover ecosystems in the Northern Sub-Saharan Africa using data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). We determined a decrease in albedo after fires over most land cover types (e.g. woody savannas: (-0.00352 0.00003) and savannas: (- 0.003910.00003), which together accounted for >86% of the total MODIS fire count between 2003 and 2011). Grasslands had a higher value (-0.00454 0.00003) than the savannas, but accounted for only about 5% of the total fire count. A few other land cover types (e.g. Deciduous broad leaf: (0.00062 0.00015), and barren: 0.00027 0.00019), showed an increase in albedo after fires, but accounted for less than 1% of the total fires. Albedo change due to wildfires is more important during the fire season (October-February). The albedo recovery progresses rapidly during the first year after fires, where savannas show the greatest recovery (>77%) within one year, while deciduous broadleaf, permanent wetlands and barren lands show the least one-year recovery (56%). The persistence of surface albedo darkening in most land cover types is limited to about six to seven years, after which at least 98% of the burnt pixels recover to their pre-fire albedo.
Pelletier, N.; Chetelat, J.; Vermaire, J. C.; Palmer, M.; Black, J.; Pellisey, J.; Tracz, B.; van der Wielen, S.
Current drought conditions in northwestern Canada are conducive to more frequent and severe wildfires that may mobilize mercury and other metals accumulated in soil and biomass. There is evidence that wildfires can remobilize and transport mercury within and outside catchments by atmospheric volatilization, particulate emissions and catchment soil erosion. However, the effect of fires on mercury fluxes to nearby lake sediments remains unclear. In this study, we use a combination of 10 dated lake sediment cores and four nearby ombrotrophic peatland cores to investigate the effects of wildfires on mercury fluxes to lake sediments. Lakes varying in catchment size and distance from recent fire events were sampled. Mercury concentrations in the environmental archives were measured, and macroscopic charcoal particles (>100 um) were counted at high resolution in the sediments to observe the co-variation of the local fire history and mercury fluxes. Mercury flux recorded in ombrotrophic peat cores provided an estimate of the historical atmospheric mercury flux from local and regional atmospheric deposition. The mercury flux recorded in lake sediments corresponds to the sum of direct atmospheric deposition and catchment transport. In combination, these archives will allow for the partitioning of mercury loading attributable to catchment transport from direct atmospheric deposition. After correcting the fluxes for particle focusing and terragenic elements input, flux from different lakes will be compared based on their catchment size and their temporal and spatial proximity known fire events. Altogether, our preliminary results using these paleolimnological methods will provide new insights on mercury transport processes that are predicted to become more important under a changing climate.
Owens, P. N.; Giles, T. R.; Blake, W. H.; Petticrew, E. L.; Bol, R.
In August 2003 a severe wildfire burnt the majority of Fishtrap Creek, a 170 km2 watershed near the city of Kamloops in central British Columbia. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of the wildfire on the amount and composition of fine sediment delivery and transport in the system and to see if the wildfire altered the main sources of sediment. In addition, the findings are compared with that of a nearby watershed, Jamieson Creek, with similar characteristics that was unburnt. In both watersheds, suspended sediment concentrations and fluxes were determined using ISCO automatic water samplers. Changes in sediment sources were determined by collecting bulk sediment and source material samples, and by analysing these samples for a range of properties, including environmental radionuclides and C and N isotopes. Results suggest that following the wildfire there was no major response in fine sediment delivery and transport in Fishtrap Creek, when compared to Jamieson Creek, although there were noticeable differences in the composition of the fine sediment transported and stored in the channel bed. This muted response may be due to the fairly low rainfall amounts in the period immediately following the wildfire. Environmental fallout radionuclides (caesium-137 and unsupported lead-210) showed that there was limited increase (bank) sources of sediment. Recent changes in sediment fluxes and sediment sources relate more to bank erosion processes, probably due to loss of root strength and cohesion. The results suggest that in some situations wildfire may not produce the dramatic increases in hillslope erosion and sediment transport often documented in other watersheds. In Fishtrap Creek, channel bank erosion appears to be important in supplying fine material to the channel and this suggests that attention should be directed at managing the riparian zone in watersheds affected by wildfires.
Lydersen, Jamie M.; Collins, Brandon M.; Ewell, Carol M.; Reiner, Alicia L.; Fites, Jo Ann; Dow, Christopher B.; Gonzalez, Patrick; Saah, David S.; Battles, John J.
Inventories of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from wildfire provide essential information to the state of California, USA, and other governments that have enacted emission reductions. Wildfires can release a substantial amount of GHGs and other compounds to the atmosphere, so recent increases in fire activity may be increasing GHG emissions. Quantifying wildfire emissions however can be difficult due to inherent variability in fuel loads and consumption and a lack of field data of fuel consumption by wildfire. We compare a unique set of fuel data collected immediately before and after six wildfires in coniferous forests of California to fuel consumption predictions of the first-order fire effects model (FOFEM), based on two different available fuel characterizations. We found strong regional differences in the performance of different fuel characterizations, with FOFEM overestimating the fuel consumption to a greater extent in the Klamath Mountains than in the Sierra Nevada. Inaccurate fuel load inputs caused the largest differences between predicted and observed fuel consumption. Fuel classifications tended to overestimate duff load and underestimate litter load, leading to differences in predicted emissions for some pollutants. When considering total ground and surface fuels, modeled consumption was fairly accurate on average, although the range of error in estimates of plot level consumption was very large. These results highlight the importance of fuel load input to the accuracy of modeled fuel consumption and GHG emissions from wildfires in coniferous forests.
Yue, X.; Strada, S.; Unger, N.
Biomass burning is an important source of tropospheric ozone (O3) and aerosols, which can affect vegetation photosynthesis through stomatal uptake (for O3) and light scattering and meteorological variations (for aerosols). Climate change will significantly increase wildfire activity in boreal North America by the midcentury, while little is known about the impacts of enhanced emissions on the terrestrial carbon budget. Here, combining site-level and satellite observations and a carbon-chemistry-climate model, we estimate the impacts of fire emitted O3 and aerosols on net primary productivity (NPP) over boreal North America. Fire emissions are calculated based on an ensemble projection from 13 climate models. In the present day, wildfire enhances surface O3 by 2 ppbv (7%) and aerosol optical depth (AOD) at 550 nm by 0.03 (26%) in the summer. By midcentury, boreal area burned is predicted to increase by 66%, contributing more O3 (13%) and aerosols (37%). Fire O3 causes negligible impacts on NPP because ambient O3 concentration is far below the damaging thresholds. Fire aerosols reduce surface solar radiation but enhance atmospheric absorption, resulting in enhanced air stability and intensified regional drought. The domain of this drying is confined to the North in the present day, but extends southward by 2050 due to increased fire emissions. Consequently, wildfire aerosols enhance NPP by 72 Tg C yr-1 in the present day but decrease NPP by 118 Tg C yr-1 in the future, mainly because of the soil moisture perturbations. Our results suggest that future wildfire may accelerate boreal carbon loss, not only through direct emissions, but also through the biophysical impacts of fire aerosols.
N.E. Grulke; R.A. Minnich; T. Paine; P. Riggan
Many factors increase susceptibility of forests to wildfire. Among them are increases in human population, changes in land use, fire suppression, and frequent droughts. These factors have been exacerbating forest susceptibility to wildfires over the last century in southern California. Here we report on the significant role that air pollution has on increasing forest...
Jan Seibert; Jeffrey J. McDonnell; Richard D. Woodsmith
Wildfire is an important disturbance affecting hydrological processes through alteration of vegetation cover and soil characteristics. The effects of fire on hydrological systems at the catchment scale are not well known, largely because site specific data from both before and after wildfire are rare. In this study a modelling approach was employed for change detection...
Gonzalez-Caban, A.; Sanchez, J. J.
The purpose of this work is to estimate willingness-to-pay (WTP) for minority (African-American and Hispanic) homeowners in Florida for private and public wildfire risk reduction programs and also to test for differences in response between the two groups. A random parameter logit and latent class models allowed us to determine if there is difference in wildfire mitigation program preferences, whether WTP is higher for public or private actions for wildfire risk reduction, and whether households with personal experience and who perceive that they live in higher-risk areas have significantly higher WTP. We also compare FL minority homeowners' WTP values with Florida original homeowners' estimates. Results suggest that FL minority homeowners are willing to invest in public programs, with African-Americans WTP values at a higher rate than Hispanics. In addition, the highest priority for cost sharing funds would go to low-income homeowners, especially to cost-share private actions on their own land. These results may help fire managers optimize allocation of scarce cost-sharing funds for public versus private actions.
Morrison, Katherine D.
In the Mediterranean ecosystems of coastal California, wildfire is a common disturbance that can significantly alter vegetation in watersheds that transport sediment and nutrients to the adjacent nearshore oceanic environment. We assess the impact of two wildfires that burned in 2008 on land cover and to the nearshore environment along the Big Sur coast in central California. We created a multi-year land cover dataset to assess changes to coastal watersheds as a result of fire. This land cover dataset was then used to model changes in nonpoint source pollutants transported to the nearshore environment. Results indicate post-fire increases in percent export compared to pre-fire years and also link wildfire severity to the specific land cover changes that subsequently increase exports of pollutants and sediment to the nearshore environment. This approach is a replicable across watersheds and also provides a framework for including the nearshore environment as a value at risk terrestrial land management revolving around wildfire, including suppression, thinning, and other activities that change land cover at a landscape scale.
S. P. Urbanski
Full Text Available In the US, wildfires and prescribed burning present significant challenges to air regulatory agencies attempting to achieve and maintain compliance with air quality regulations. Fire emission factors (EF are essential input for the emission models used to develop wildland fire emission inventories. Most previous studies quantifying wildland fire EF of temperate ecosystems have focused on emissions from prescribed burning conducted outside of the wildfire season. Little information is available on EF for wildfires in temperate forests of the conterminous US. The goal of this work is to provide information on emissions from wildfire-season forest fires in the northern Rocky Mountains, US. In August 2011, we deployed airborne chemistry instruments and sampled emissions over eight days from three wildfires and a prescribed fire that occurred in mixed conifer forests of the northern Rocky Mountains. We measured the combustion efficiency, quantified as the modified combustion efficiency (MCE, and EF for CO2, CO, and CH4. Our study average values for MCE, EFCO2, EFCO, and EFCH4 were 0.883, 1596 g kg−1, 135 g kg−1, 7.30 g kg−1, respectively. Compared with previous field studies of prescribed fires in temperate forests, the fires sampled in our study had significantly lower MCE and EFCO2 and significantly higher EFCO and EFCH4. The fires sampled in this study burned in areas reported to have moderate to heavy components of standing dead trees and down dead wood due to insect activity and previous fire, but fuel consumption data was not available. However, an analysis of MCE and fuel consumption data from 18 prescribed fires reported in the literature indicates that the availability of coarse fuels and conditions favorable for the combustion of these fuels favors low MCE fires. This analysis suggests that fuel composition was an important factor contributing to the low MCE of the fires measured in this study. This study only measured EF for CO2, CO
Carroll, M.; Paveglio, T.; Kallman, D.
To date there have been few systematic efforts to uncover the criteria that local stakeholders use to perceive of and make judgments about the severity of wildfire impacts to the social-ecological systems they are a part of. The study presented here sought to uncover expanded understandings of perceived social and ecological impacts from a wildfire in rural Montana and the underlying causes for those perceived impacts. Such efforts could lead to more comprehensive social impact assessment concerning wildfires or other hazards and help better understand how local perceptions might influence residents' ongoing attitudes toward fire risk or mitigation efforts. The study presented here explored local perceptions of impact from the 2012 Dahl fire near Roundup, MT. The Dahl Fire burned 73 permanent structures, 150 outbuilding and 22,000 acres of predominantly private lands in the rural Bull Mountains. Members of the project team interviewed approximately 50 stakeholders impacted by or involved in the management for the Dahl Fire. Interviews took place in the summer of 2013 and included a variety of residents, emergency personnel, firefighters, local community officials and land management professionals. Results suggest that residents considered the Dahl fire especially impactful given the number of private residences and structures that were burned and the number of people displaced or disrupted by the event (either directly, through efforts to help those affected, or through indirect impacts to community function). The extremity of the firefighting conditions (e.g. wind, relative humidity, terrain), the rapidity of fire spread through populated areas and the damages sustained given previous fires in the area all surprised stakeholders and contributed to their perceptions of impact severity. Conflicts over access to properties during and immediately following the fire, and the variable perception that personal wildfire mitigations did little to reduce damages from the
Shaposhnikov, Dmitry; Revich, Boris; Bellander, Tom; Bedada, Getahun Bero; Bottai, Matteo; Kharkova, Tatyana; Kvasha, Ekaterina; Lezina, Elena; Lind, Tomas; Semutnikova, Eugenia; Pershagen, Göran
Prolonged high temperatures and air pollution from wildfires often occur together, and the two may interact in their effects on mortality. However, there are few data on such possible interactions. We analyzed day-to-day variations in the number of deaths in Moscow, Russia, in relation to air pollution levels and temperature during the disastrous heat wave and wildfire of 2010. Corresponding data for the period 2006-2009 were used for comparison. Daily average levels of PM10 and ozone were obtained from several continuous measurement stations. The daily number of nonaccidental deaths from specific causes was extracted from official records. Analyses of interactions considered the main effect of temperature as well as the added effect of prolonged high temperatures and the interaction with PM10. The major heat wave lasted for 44 days, with 24-hour average temperatures ranging from 24°C to 31°C and PM10 levels exceeding 300 μg/m on several days. There were close to 11,000 excess deaths from nonaccidental causes during this period, mainly among those older than 65 years. Increased risks also occurred in younger age groups. The most pronounced effects were for deaths from cardiovascular, respiratory, genitourinary, and nervous system diseases. Continuously increasing risks following prolonged high temperatures were apparent during the first 2 weeks of the heat wave. Interactions between high temperatures and air pollution from wildfires in excess of an additive effect contributed to more than 2000 deaths. Interactions between high temperatures and wildfire air pollution should be considered in risk assessments regarding health consequences of climate change.
Ager, Alan; Barros, Ana; Day, Michelle; Preisler, Haiganoush; Evers, Cody
We develop the idea of risk transmission from large wildfires and apply network analyses to understand its importance within the 3.2 million ha Fire-People-Forest study area in central Oregon, US. Historic wildfires within the study and elsewhere in the western US frequently burn over long distances (e.g., 20-50 km) through highly fragmented landscapes with respect to ownership, fuels, management intensity, population density, and ecological conditions. The collective arrangement of fuel loadings in concert with weather and suppression efforts ultimately determines containment and the resulting fire perimeter. While spatial interactions among land parcels in terms of fire spread and intensity have been frequently noted by fire managers, quantifying risk and exposure transmission is not well understood. In this paper we used simulation modeling to quantify wildfire transmission and built a transmission network among and within land owners and communities within the study area. The results suggested that 84% of the predicted area burned within the 25 communities in the study area was from simulated fires that ignited on federal lands. The wildland urban interface surrounding the communities was predicted to burn at a rate of 2 % per year, with 57% of the area burned from fires ignited on federal lands. The node degree for communities indicated that simulated fires originated on about 6 different landowners. Network analyses in general revealed independent variation in transmitted fire among landowners in terms of both node degree (diversity of landowners exchanging fire) and transmitted fire, indicating that both the spatial grain of land ownership and wildfire topology contribute to transmission among land parcels. We discuss how network analyses of wildfire transmission can inform fire management goals for creating fire adapted communities, conserving biodiversity, and resolving competing demands for fire-prone ecosystem services. We also discuss how biophysical
Zhao, Yi; Ma, Jiale; Li, Xiaohui; Zhang, Jie
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with global positioning systems (GPS) can provide direct georeferenced imagery, mapping an area with high resolution. So far, the major difficulty in wildfire image classification is the lack of unified identification marks, the fire features of color, shape, texture (smoke, flame, or both) and background can vary significantly from one scene to another. Deep learning (e.g., DCNN for Deep Convolutional Neural Network) is very effective in high-level feature learning, however, a substantial amount of training images dataset is obligatory in optimizing its weights value and coefficients. In this work, we proposed a new saliency detection algorithm for fast location and segmentation of core fire area in aerial images. As the proposed method can effectively avoid feature loss caused by direct resizing; it is used in data augmentation and formation of a standard fire image dataset 'UAV_Fire'. A 15-layered self-learning DCNN architecture named 'Fire_Net' is then presented as a self-learning fire feature exactor and classifier. We evaluated different architectures and several key parameters (drop out ratio, batch size, etc.) of the DCNN model regarding its validation accuracy. The proposed architecture outperformed previous methods by achieving an overall accuracy of 98%. Furthermore, 'Fire_Net' guarantied an average processing speed of 41.5 ms per image for real-time wildfire inspection. To demonstrate its practical utility, Fire_Net is tested on 40 sampled images in wildfire news reports and all of them have been accurately identified.
Granath, Gustaf; Moore, Paul A.; Lukenbach, Maxwell C.; Waddington, James M.
Northern peatlands can emit large amounts of carbon and harmful smoke pollution during a wildfire. Of particular concern are drained and mined peatlands, where management practices destabilize an array of ecohydrological feedbacks, moss traits and peat properties that moderate water and carbon losses in natural peatlands. Our results demonstrate that drained and mined peatlands in Canada and northern Europe can experience catastrophic deep burns (>200 t C ha-1 emitted) under current weather conditions. Furthermore, climate change will cause greater water losses in these peatlands and subject even deeper peat layers to wildfire combustion. However, the rewetting of drained peatlands and the restoration of mined peatlands can effectively lower the risk of these deep burns, especially if a new peat moss layer successfully establishes and raises peat moisture content. We argue that restoration efforts are a necessary measure to mitigate the risk of carbon loss in managed peatlands under climate change.
Kari Hyytiainen; Robert G. Haight
We evaluate the economic efficiency of even- and uneven-aged management systems under risk of wildfire. The management problems are formulated for a mixed-conifer stand and approximations of the optimal solutions are obtained using simulation optimization. The Northern Idaho variant of the Forest Vegetation Simulator and its Fire and Fuels Extension is used to predict...
Deborah E. Hanley; Philip Cunningham; Scott Goodrick
Florida experiences sea breezes, lake breezes, and bay breezes almost every day during the year, and there are frequently complex interactions between many of these breezes. Given the often-rapid changes in temperature, humidity, and wind speed that accompany these breezes, most wildfires and prescribed fires in Florida are affected in some way by their interaction...
Roger B. Hammer; Susan I. Stewart; Volker C. Radeloff
In this article, we provide an overview of the demographic trends that have impacted and will continue to impact the "wicked" wildfire management problem in the United States, with particular attention to the emergence of the wildland-urban interface (WUI). Although population growth has had an impact on the emergence of the WUI, the deconcentration of...
David E. Calkin; Matthew P. Thompson; Mark A. Finney
Over the last two decades wildfire activity, damage, and management cost within the US have increased substantially. These increases have been associated with a number of factors including climate change and fuel accumulation due to a century of active fire suppression. The increased fire activity has occurred during a time of significant ex-urban development of the...
van den Dool, G.
This study (van den Dool, 2017) is a proof of concept for a global predictive wildfire model, in which the temporal-spatial characteristics of wildfires are placed in a Geographical Information System (GIS), and the risk analysis is based on data-driven fuzzy logic functions. The data sources used in this model are available as global datasets, but subdivided into three pilot areas: North America (California/Nevada), Europe (Spain), and Asia (Mongolia), and are downscaled to the highest resolution (3-arc second). The GIS is constructed around three themes: topography, fuel availability and climate. From the topographical data, six derived sub-themes are created and converted to a fuzzy membership based on the catchment area statistics. The fuel availability score is a composite of four data layers: land cover, wood loads, biomass, biovolumes. As input for the climatological sub-model reanalysed daily averaged, weather-related data is used, which is accumulated to a global weekly time-window (to account for the uncertainty within the climatological model) and forms the temporal component of the model. The final product is a wildfire risk score (from 0 to 1) by week, representing the average wildfire risk in an area. To compute the potential wildfire risk the sub-models are combined usinga Multi-Criteria Approach, and the model results are validated against the area under the Receiver Operating Characteristic curve.
Balshi, M. S.; McGuire, Anthony David; Duffy, P.; Flannigan, M.; Kicklighter, David W.; Melillo, J.
The boreal forest contains large reserves of carbon. Across this region, wildfires influence the temporal and spatial dynamics of carbon storage. In this study, we estimate fire emissions and changes in carbon storage for boreal North America over the 21st century. We use a gridded data set developed with a multivariate adaptive regression spline approach to determine how area burned varies each year with changing climatic and fuel moisture conditions. We apply the process-based Terrestrial Ecosystem Model to evaluate the role of future fire on the carbon dynamics of boreal North America in the context of changing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration and climate in the A2 and B2 emissions scenarios of the CGCM2 global climate model. Relative to the last decade of the 20th century, decadal total carbon emissions from fire increase by 2.5–4.4 times by 2091–2100, depending on the climate scenario and assumptions about CO2fertilization. Larger fire emissions occur with warmer climates or if CO2 fertilization is assumed to occur. Despite the increases in fire emissions, our simulations indicate that boreal North America will be a carbon sink over the 21st century if CO2 fertilization is assumed to occur in the future. In contrast, simulations excluding CO2 fertilization over the same period indicate that the region will change to a carbon source to the atmosphere, with the source being 2.1 times greater under the warmer A2 scenario than the B2 scenario. To improve estimates of wildfire on terrestrial carbon dynamics in boreal North America, future studies should incorporate the role of dynamic vegetation to represent more accurately post-fire successional processes, incorporate fire severity parameters that change in time and space, account for human influences through increased fire suppression, and integrate the role of other disturbances and their interactions with future fire regime.
Travis Paveglio; Matthew S. Carroll; James D. Absher; Todd. Norton
This study uses social constructionism as a basis for understanding the effectiveness of communication about wildfire risk between agency officials and wildland-urban interface (WUI) residents. Risk communication literature demonstrates a welldocumented difference in the way land managers and stakeholders conceptualize risk. This is especially true of fire because...
Alan Wain; Graham Mills; Lachlan McCaw; Timothy Brown
In Australia the responsibility for management of forests and other public lands rests largely with state governments, and multiple government agencies may be involved in fire management. Whether resulting from wildfire, fuel reduction, or silvicultural operations, biomass burning often stimulates community concerns about hazards from fine particulates and chemical...
Matthew P. Thompson
Managing wildland fire incidents can be fraught with complexity and uncertainty. Myriad human factors can exert significant influence on incident decision making, and can contribute additional uncertainty regarding programmatic evaluations of wildfire management and attainment of policy goals. This article develops a framework within which human sources of uncertainty...
Monroe, Martha C.; Agrawal, Shruti; Jakes, Pamela J.; Kruger, Linda E.; Nelson, Kristen C.; Sturtevant, Victoria
Environmental educators are challenged to document behavior changes, because change rarely depends solely on outcomes of education programs, but on many factors. An analysis of 15 communities in the United States that have increased their preparedness for wildfire allowed us to explore how education programs encouraged individual and community…
Dunham, J.B.; Rosenberger, A.E.; Luce, C.H.; Rieman, B.E.
Wildfire can influence a variety of stream ecosystem properties. We studied stream temperatures in relation to wildfire in small streams in the Boise River Basin, located in central Idaho, USA. To examine the spatio-temporal aspects of temperature in relation to wildfire, we employed three approaches: a pre-post fire comparison of temperatures between two sites (one from a burned stream and one unburned) over 13 years, a short-term (3 year) pre-post fire comparison of a burned and unburned stream with spatially extensive data, and a short-term (1 year) comparative study of spatial variability in temperatures using a "space for time" substitutive design across 90 sites in nine streams (retrospective comparative study). The latter design included streams with a history of stand-replacing wildfire and streams with severe post-fire reorganization of channels due to debris flows and flooding. Results from these three studies indicated that summer maximum water temperatures can remain significantly elevated for at least a decade following wildfire, particularly in streams with severe channel reorganization. In the retrospective comparative study we investigated occurrence of native rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and tailed frog larvae (Ascaphus montanus) in relation to maximum stream temperatures during summer. Both occurred in nearly every site sampled, but tailed frog larvae were found in much warmer water than previously reported in the field (26.6??C maximum summer temperature). Our results show that physical stream habitats can remain altered (for example, increased temperature) for many years following wildfire, but that native aquatic vertebrates can be resilient. In a management context, this suggests wildfire may be less of a threat to native species than human influences that alter the capacity of stream-living vertebrates to persist in the face of natural disturbance. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Tyron J. Venn; David E. Calkin
Non-industrial private forests (NIPFs) and public forests in the United States generate many non-market benefits for landholders and society generally. These values can be both enhanced and diminished by wildfire management. This paper considers the challenges of supporting economically efficient allocation of wildfire suppression resources in a social cost-benefit...
David L. Peterson; Jeremy S. Littell
Wildfire is one of the two most significant disturbance agents (the other being insects) in forest ecosystems of the Western United States, and in a warmer climate, will drive changes in forest composition, structure, and function (Dale et al. 2001, McKenzie et al. 2004). Although wildfire is highly stochastic in space and time, sufficient data exist to establish clear...
Santin, Cristina; Doerr, Stefan H.; Otero, Xose L.; Chafer, Chris J.
Ash, the burnt residue generated from combustion of vegetation, litter and surface soil, covers the ground after every wildfire. The effects of wildfire ash on the post-fire landscape are many and very diverse. It is a source of nutrients and can, therefore, help the recovery of vegetation after fire. Furthermore, in its initial state, the ash layer on the ground can protect the bare soil from rain splash erosion and can act as an adsorbent layer, preventing or delaying post-fire water erosion by runoff. However, when the adsorbent capability of the ash layer is exceeded, this highly erodible material can be transported into the hydrological network and be a major contributor to water contamination. Most previous studies on post-fire erosion and water contamination have focused on soil erosion and associated sediment transfer and overlooked the ash component or, when considered, ash has been included as an unidentified part of the eroded sediment. One of the reasons for overlooking this key post-fire component is the difficulty of ash sampling before it is lost by wind or water erosion or altered by aging on-site. Here we compare the water contamination potential of ash obtained from two fires in the dry eucalyptus forest environment of the Sydney tablelands, Australia: i) 'aged ash' produced during the severe Balmoral wildfire and sampled two months after the event (Jan. 2014) and ii) 'fresh ash' sampled immediately after a high-intensity experimental fire in the same region (Sept. 2014). At the time of sampling, neither of the ash types had been affected by water erosion, however, the aged ash had been subjected to rainfall events and, potentially, to wind erosion during the two months of exposure. Vegetation type, fuel loads and fire severity, determined using remote sensing and on-site observations, were comparable between both areas sampled. Ash physicochemical properties differed, with 'fresh ash' having higher pH and EC values and higher concentration of
Povak, N.; Hessburg, P. F., Sr.; Salter, R. B.
Ecological theory asserts that regional wildfire size distributions are examples of self-organized critical (SOC) systems. Controls on SOC event-size distributions by virtue are purely endogenous to the system and include the (1) frequency and pattern of ignitions, (2) distribution and size of prior fires, and (3) lagged successional patterns after fires. However, recent work has shown that the largest wildfires often result from extreme climatic events, and that patterns of vegetation and topography may help constrain local fire spread, calling into question the SOC model's simplicity. Using an atlas of >12,000 California wildfires (1950-2012) and maximum likelihood estimation (MLE), we fit four different power-law models and broken-stick regressions to fire-size distributions across 16 Bailey's ecoregions. Comparisons among empirical fire size distributions across ecoregions indicated that most ecoregion's fire-size distributions were significantly different, suggesting that broad-scale top-down controls differed among ecoregions. One-parameter power-law models consistently fit a middle range of fire sizes (~100 to 10000 ha) across most ecoregions, but did not fit to larger and smaller fire sizes. We fit the same four power-law models to patch size distributions of aspect, slope, and curvature topographies and found that the power-law models fit to a similar middle range of topography patch sizes. These results suggested that empirical evidence may exist for topographic controls on fire sizes. To test this, we used neutral landscape modeling techniques to determine if observed fire edges corresponded with aspect breaks more often than expected by random. We found significant differences between the empirical and neutral models for some ecoregions, particularly within the middle range of fire sizes. Our results, combined with other recent work, suggest that controls on ecoregional fire size distributions are multi-scaled and likely are not purely SOC. California
A. Paige. Fischer
Full Text Available Because wildfire size and frequency are expected to increase in many forested areas in the United States, organizations involved in forest and wildfire management could arguably benefit from working together and sharing information to develop strategies for how to adapt to this increasing risk. Social capital theory suggests that actors in cohesive networks are positioned to build trust and mutual understanding of problems and act collectively to address these problems, and that actors engaged with diverse partners are positioned to access new information and resources that are important for innovation and complex problem solving. We investigated the patterns of interaction within a network of organizations involved in forest and wildfire management in Oregon, USA, for evidence of structural conditions that create opportunities for collective action and learning. We used descriptive statistical analysis of social network data gathered through interviews to characterize the structure of the network and exponential random graph modeling to identify key factors in the formation of network ties. We interpreted our findings through the lens of social capital theory to identify implications for the network's capacity to engage in collective action and complex problem-solving about how to adapt to environmental change. We found that tendencies to associate with others with similar management goals, geographic emphases, and attitudes toward wildfire were strong mechanisms shaping network structure, potentially constraining interactions among organizations with diverse information and resources and limiting opportunities for learning and complex problem-solving needed for adaptation. In particular, we found that organizations with fire protection and forest restoration goals comprised distinct networks despite sharing concern about the problem of increasing wildfire risk.
Joseph L. Ganey; Ho Yi Wan; Samuel A. Cushman; Christina D. Vojta
Evidence of increasing fire extent and severity in the western US in recent decades has raised concern over the effects of fire on threatened species such as the spotted owl (Strix occidentalis Xantus de Vesey), which nests in forests with large trees and high canopy cover that are vulnerable to high-severity wildfire. A dichotomy of views exists on the impact of high-...
Xianli Wang; Marc-Andre Parisien; Mike D. Flannigan; Sean A. Parks; Kerry R. Anderson; John M. Little; Steve W. Taylor
Given that they can burn for weeks or months, wildfires in temperate and boreal forests may become immense (eg., 100 - 04 km2). However, during the period within which a large fire is 'active', not all days experience weather that is conducive to fire spread; indeed most of the spread occurs on a small proportion (e.g., 1 - 15 days) of not necessarily...
Rosenberger, A.E.; Dunham, J.B.; Buffington, J.M.; Wipfli, M.S.
Wildfire and debris flows are important physical and ecological drivers in headwater streams of western North America. Past research has primarily examined short-term effects of these disturbances; less is known about longer-term impacts. We investigated wildfire effects on the invertebrate prey base for drift-feeding rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss, Walbaum) in Idaho headwater streams a decade after wildfire. Three stream types with different disturbance histories were examined: 1) unburned, 2) burned, and 3) burned followed by debris flows that reset channel morphology and riparian vegetation. The quantity of macroinvertebrate drift (biomass density) was more variable within than among disturbance categories. Average body weight and taxonomic richness of drift were significantly related to water temperature and influenced by disturbance history. During the autumn sampling period, the amount of terrestrial insects in rainbow trout diets varied with disturbance history and the amount of overhead canopy along the stream banks. Results indicate that there are detectable changes to macroinvertebrate drift and trout diet a decade after wildfire, and that these responses are better correlated with specific characteristics of the stream (water temperature, canopy cover) than with broad disturbance classes.
Biomass burning has been identified as an important contributor to the degradation of air quality because of its impact on ozone and particulate matter. Two components of the biomass burning inventory, wildfires and prescribed fires are routinely estimated in the national emissio...
G. A. Dorrer
Full Text Available A new method of describing the processes of propagation and elimination of wildfires on the basis of agent-based modeling is proposed. The main structural units of the creation of such models are the classes of active objects (agents. Agent approach, combined with Geographic Information Systems (GIS can effectively describe the interaction of a large number of participants in the process to combat wildfires: fire spreading, fire crews, mechanization, aerial means and other. In this paper we propose a multi-agent model to predict the spread of wildfire edge and simulate the direct method of extinguishing a ground fire with non-mechanized crews. The model consist with two classes of agents, designated A and B. The burning fire edge is represented as a chain of A-agents, each of which simulates the burning of an elementary portion of vegetation fuel. Fire front movement (moving the A-agent described by the Hamilton-Jacobi equation with using the indicatrises of normal front rate of spread (figurotris. The configuration of the front calculated on basis the algorithm of mobile grids. Agents other type, B-agents, described extinguishing process; they move to the agents of A type and act on them, reducing the combustion intensity to zero. Modeling system presented as two-level coloured nested Petri Net, which describes the agents’ interaction semantics. This model is implemented as a GIS-oriented software system that can be useful both in the fire fighting management as well as in staff training tactics to fighting wildfires. Some examples of modeling decision making on а ground fire extinguishing are presented.
D. V. Mallia; J. C. Lin; S. Urbanski; J. Ehleringer; T. Nehrkorn
Biomass burning is known to contribute large quantities of CO2, CO, and PM2.5 to the atmosphere. Biomass burning not only affects the area in the vicinity of fire but may also impact the air quality far downwind from the fire. The 2007 and 2012 western U.S. wildfire seasons were characterized by significant wildfire...
Argañaraz, J P; Radeloff, V C; Bar-Massada, A; Gavier-Pizarro, G I; Scavuzzo, C M; Bellis, L M
Wildfires are a major threat to people and property in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) communities worldwide, but while the patterns of the WUI in North America, Europe and Oceania have been studied before, this is not the case in Latin America. Our goals were to a) map WUI areas in central Argentina, and b) assess wildfire exposure for WUI communities in relation to historic fires, with special emphasis on large fires and estimated burn probability based on an empirical model. We mapped the WUI in the mountains of central Argentina (810,000 ha), after digitizing the location of 276,700 buildings and deriving vegetation maps from satellite imagery. The areas where houses and wildland vegetation intermingle were classified as Intermix WUI (housing density > 6.17 hu/km 2 and wildland vegetation cover > 50%), and the areas where wildland vegetation abuts settlements were classified as Interface WUI (housing density > 6.17 hu/km 2 , wildland vegetation cover planning aimed at reducing wildfire risk in WUI communities. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Full Text Available An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV equipped with global positioning systems (GPS can provide direct georeferenced imagery, mapping an area with high resolution. So far, the major difficulty in wildfire image classification is the lack of unified identification marks, the fire features of color, shape, texture (smoke, flame, or both and background can vary significantly from one scene to another. Deep learning (e.g., DCNN for Deep Convolutional Neural Network is very effective in high-level feature learning, however, a substantial amount of training images dataset is obligatory in optimizing its weights value and coefficients. In this work, we proposed a new saliency detection algorithm for fast location and segmentation of core fire area in aerial images. As the proposed method can effectively avoid feature loss caused by direct resizing; it is used in data augmentation and formation of a standard fire image dataset ‘UAV_Fire’. A 15-layered self-learning DCNN architecture named ‘Fire_Net’ is then presented as a self-learning fire feature exactor and classifier. We evaluated different architectures and several key parameters (drop out ratio, batch size, etc. of the DCNN model regarding its validation accuracy. The proposed architecture outperformed previous methods by achieving an overall accuracy of 98%. Furthermore, ‘Fire_Net’ guarantied an average processing speed of 41.5 ms per image for real-time wildfire inspection. To demonstrate its practical utility, Fire_Net is tested on 40 sampled images in wildfire news reports and all of them have been accurately identified.
Bellamy, Alex J.
This essay examines contemporary debates about human protection by the UN Security Council and others in response to major humanitarian crises. It argues that there are clear signs of an emerging international human protection regime in the evolving practice of the Security Council and suggests that this regime is based on an accommodation between different moral accounts of humanitarian intervention. The first section examines some of the legal and moral debates that have arisen with respect...
Smoke from massive wildfires blanketed Indonesia in late 1997. This paper examines the impact that this air pollution (particulate matter) had on fetal, infant, and child mortality. Exploiting the sharp timing and spatial patterns of the pollution and inferring deaths from "missing children" in the 2000 Indonesian Census, I find that the…
Martha C. Monroe; Shruti Agrawal; Pamela J. Jakes; Linda E. Kruger; Kristen C. Nelson; Victoria Sturtevant
Environmental educators are challenged to document behavior changes, because change rarely depends solely on outcomes of education programs, but on many factors. An analysis of 15 communities in the United States that have increased their preparedness for wildfire allowed us to explore how education programs encouraged individual and community change. Agency-sponsored...
Gudmundsson, L; Seneviratne, S I; Rego, F C; Rocha, M
Wildfires are a recurrent feature of ecosystems in southern Europe, regularly causing large ecological and socio-economic damages. For efficient management of this hazard, long lead time forecasts could be valuable tools. Using logistic regression, we show that the probability of above normal summer wildfire activity in the 1985–2010 time period can be forecasted as a function of meteorological drought with significant predictability (p <0.05) several months in advance. The results show that long lead time forecasts of this natural hazard are feasible in southern Europe, which could potentially aid decision-makers in the design of strategies for forest management. (letter)
Scherb, Anke; Papakosta, Panagiota; Straub, Daniel
Wildfires cause severe damages to ecosystems, socio-economic assets, and human lives in the Mediterranean. To facilitate coping with wildfire risks, an understanding of the factors influencing wildfire occurrence and behavior (e.g. human activity, weather conditions, topography, fuel loads) and their interaction is of importance, as is the implementation of this knowledge in improved wildfire hazard and risk prediction systems. In this project, a probabilistic wildfire risk prediction model is developed, with integrated fire occurrence and fire propagation probability and potential impact prediction on natural and cultivated areas. Bayesian Networks (BNs) are used to facilitate the probabilistic modeling. The final BN model is a spatial-temporal prediction system at the meso scale (1 km2 spatial and 1 day temporal resolution). The modeled consequences account for potential restoration costs and production losses referred to forests, agriculture, and (semi-) natural areas. BNs and a geographic information system (GIS) are coupled within this project to support a semi-automated BN model parameter learning and the spatial-temporal risk prediction. The coupling also enables the visualization of prediction results by means of daily maps. The BN parameters are learnt for Cyprus with data from 2006-2009. Data from 2010 is used as validation data set. A special focus is put on the performance evaluation of the BN for fire occurrence, which is modeled as binary classifier and thus, could be validated by means of Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) curves. With the final best models, AUC values of more than 70% for validation could be achieved, which indicates potential for reliable prediction performance via BN. Maps of selected days in 2010 are shown to illustrate final prediction results. The resulting system can be easily expanded to predict additional expected damages in the mesoscale (e.g. building and infrastructure damages). The system can support planning of
Kalabokidis, K.; Athanasis, N.; Vaitis, M.
With the proliferation of the geospatial technologies on the Internet, the role of geo-portals (i.e. gateways to Spatial Data Infrastructures) in the area of wildfires management emerges. However, keyword-based techniques often frustrate users when looking for data of interest in geo-portal environments, while little attention has been paid to shift from the conventional keyword-based to navigation-based mechanisms. The presented OntoFire system is an ontology-based geo-portal about wildfires. Through the proposed navigation mechanisms, the relationships between the data can be discovered, which would otherwise not be possible when using conventional querying techniques alone. End users can use the browsing interface to find resources of interest by using the navigation mechanisms provided. Data providers can use the publishing interface to submit new metadata, modify metadata or removing metadata in/from the catalogue. The proposed approach can improve the discovery of valuable information that is necessary to set priorities for disaster mitigation and prevention strategies. OntoFire aspires to be a focal point of integration and management of a very large amount of information, contributing in this way to the dissemination of knowledge and to the preparedness of the operational stakeholders.
Matthew S. Carroll; Angela J. Findley; Keith A. Blatner; Sandra Rodriguez Mendez; Steven E. Daniels; Gregg B. Walker
A purposive social assessment across three communities explored reactions of local residents to wildfires in the Wenatchee National Forest in north-central Washington. Research concentrated on identifying the diversity of fundamental beliefs and values held by local residents about wildfire and forest management. Particular emphasis was given to investigating community...
Jones, Kelly W; Cannon, Jeffery B; Saavedra, Freddy A; Kampf, Stephanie K; Addington, Robert N; Cheng, Antony S; MacDonald, Lee H; Wilson, Codie; Wolk, Brett
A small but growing number of watershed investment programs in the western United States focus on wildfire risk reduction to municipal water supplies. This paper used return on investment (ROI) analysis to quantify how the amounts and placement of fuel treatment interventions would reduce sediment loading to the Strontia Springs Reservoir in the Upper South Platte River watershed southwest of Denver, Colorado following an extreme fire event. We simulated various extents of fuel mitigation activities under two placement strategies: (a) a strategic treatment prioritization map and (b) accessibility. Potential fire behavior was modeled under each extent and scenario to determine the impact on fire severity, and this was used to estimate expected change in post-fire erosion due to treatments. We found a positive ROI after large storm events when fire mitigation treatments were placed in priority areas with diminishing marginal returns after treating >50-80% of the forested area. While our ROI results should not be used prescriptively they do show that, conditional on severe fire occurrence and precipitation, investments in the Upper South Platte could feasibly lead to positive financial returns based on the reduced costs of dredging sediment from the reservoir. While our analysis showed positive ROI focusing only on post-fire erosion mitigation, it is important to consider multiple benefits in future ROI calculations and increase monitoring and evaluation of these benefits of wildfire fuel reduction investments for different site conditions and climates. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Yasunari, Teppei J; Kim, Kyu-Myong; da Silva, Arlindo M; Hayasaki, Masamitsu; Akiyama, Masayuki; Murao, Naoto
To identify the unusual climate conditions and their connections to air pollutions in a remote area due to wildfires, we examine three anomalous large-scale wildfires in May 2003, April 2008, and July 2014 over East Eurasia, as well as how products of those wildfires reached an urban city, Sapporo, in the northern part of Japan (Hokkaido), significantly affecting the air quality. NASA's MERRA-2 (the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2) aerosol re-analysis data closely reproduced the PM 2.5 variations in Sapporo for the case of smoke arrival in July 2014. Results show that all three cases featured unusually early snowmelt in East Eurasia, accompanied by warmer and drier surface conditions in the months leading to the fires, inducing long-lasting soil dryness and producing climate and environmental conditions conducive to active wildfires. Due to prevailing anomalous synoptic-scale atmospheric motions, smoke from those fires eventually reached a remote area, Hokkaido, and worsened the air quality in Sapporo. In future studies, continuous monitoring of the timing of Eurasian snowmelt and the air quality from the source regions to remote regions, coupled with the analysis of atmospheric and surface conditions, may be essential in more accurately predicting the effects of wildfires on air quality.
It is possible due to present day computing power to produce a fluid dynamical physically-based numerical solution to wildfire behavior, at least in the research mode. This type of wildfire modeling affords a flexibility and produces details that are not available in either current operational wildfire behavior models or field experiments. However before using these models to study wildfire, validation is necessary, and model results need to be systematically and objectively analyzed and compared to real fires. Plume theory and data from the Meteotron experiment, which was specially designed to provide results from measurements for the theoretical study of a convective plume produced by a high heat source at the ground, are used here to evaluate the fire plume properties simulated by two numerical wildfire models, the Fire Dynamics Simulator or FDS, and the Clark coupled atmosphere-fire model. The study indicates that the FDS produces good agreement with the plume theory and the Meteotron results. The study also suggests that the coupled atmosphere-fire model, a less explicit and ideally less computationally demanding model than the FDS; can produce good agreement, but that the agreement is sensitive to the method of putting the energy released from the fire into the atmosphere. The WFDS (Wildfire and wildland-urban interface FDS), an extension of the FDS to the vegetative fuel, and the Australian grass fire experiments are used to evaluate and improve the UULES-wildfire coupled model. Despite the simple fire parameterization in the UULES-wildfire coupled model, the fireline is fairly well predicted in terms of both shape and location in the simulation of Australian grass fire experiment F19. Finally, the UULES-wildfire coupled model is used to examine how the turbulent flow in the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) affects the growth of the grass fires. The model fires showed significant randomness in fire growth: Fire spread is not deterministic in the ABL, and a
represents the local fire templates. The ‘paradigm’ part of the present proposal is thus concerned with the corresponding shift of attention from the actual fire-lines to consider instead the geodesic spray - the ‘fire-particles’ - which together, side by side, mold the fire-lines at each instant of time...... and thence eventually constitute the local and global structure of the wildfire spread....
Matthew P. Thompson; David E. Calkin; Julie W. Gilbertson-Day; Alan A. Ager
In this article, we describe the design and development of a quantitative, geospatial risk assessment tool intended to facilitate monitoring trends in wildfire risk over time and to provide information useful in prioritizing fuels treatments and mitigation measures. The research effort is designed to develop, from a strategic view, a first approximation of how both...
Pamela J. Jakes; Christine Esposito; Sam Burns; Antony S. Cheng; Kristen C. Nelson; Victoria E. Sturtevant; Daniel R. Williams
A community wildfire protection plan (CWPP) is a means of bringing local solutions to wildland fire management. In developing and implementing CWPPs, communities assume a leadership role in reducing wildfi re risk on federal and nonfederal land. In this publication, we identify best management practices for CWPP development and implementation based on the experiences...
Croteau, P.; Jathar, S.; Akherati, A.; Galang, A.; Tarun, S.; Onasch, T. B.; Lewane, L.; Herndon, S. C.; Roscioli, J. R.; Yacovitch, T. I.; Fortner, E.; Xu, W.; Daube, C.; Knighton, W. B.; Werden, B.; Wood, E.
Wildfires are the largest combustion-related source of carbonaceous emissions to the atmosphere; these include direct emissions of black carbon (BC), primary organic aerosol (POA) and semi-volatile, intermediate-volatility, and volatile organic compounds (SVOCs, IVOCs, and VOCs). However, there are large uncertainties surrounding the evolution of these carbonaceous emissions as they are physically and chemically transformed in the atmosphere. To understand these transformations, we performed sixteen experiments using an environmental chamber to simulate day- and night-time chemistry of gas- and aerosol-phase emissions from 6 different fuels at the Fire Laboratory in Missoula, MT. Across the test matrix, the experiments simulated 2 to 8 hours of equivalent day-time aging (with the hydroxyl radical and ozone) or several hours of night-time aging (with the nitrate radical). Aging resulted in an average organic aerosol (OA) mass enhancement of 28% although the full range of OA mass enhancements varied between -10% and 254%. These enhancement findings were consistent with chamber and flow reactor experiments performed at the Fire Laboratory in 2010 and 2012 but, similar to previous studies, offered no evidence to link the OA mass enhancement to fuel type or oxidant exposure. Experiments simulating night-time aging resulted in an average OA mass enhancement of 10% and subsequent day-time aging resulted in a decrease in OA mass of 8%. While small, for the first time, these experiments highlighted the continuous nature of the OA evolution as the wildfire smoke cycled through night- and day-time processes. Ongoing work is focussed on (i) quantifying bulk compositional changes in OA, (ii) comparing the near-field aging simulated in this work with far-field aging simulated during the same campaign (via a mini chamber and flow tube) and (iii) integrating wildfire smoke aging datasets over the past decade to examine the relationship between OA mass enhancement ratios, modified
Stephan, Kirsten; Kavanagh, Kathleen L.; Koyama, Akihiro
We evaluated differences in the effects of three low-severity spring prescribed burns and four wildfires on nitrogen (N) biogeochemistry in Rocky Mountain headwater watersheds. We compared paired (burned/unburned) watersheds of four wildfires and three spring prescribed burns for three growing seasons post-fire. To better understand fire effects on the entire watershed ecosystem, we measured N concentrations and δ15N in both the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems components, i.e., soil, understory plants in upland and riparian areas, streamwater, and in-stream moss. In addition, we measured nitrate reductase activity in foliage of Spiraea betulifolia, a dominant understory species. We found increases of δ15N and N concentrations in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem N pools after wildfire, but responses were limited to terrestrial N pools after prescribed burns indicating that N transfer from terrestrial to aquatic ecosystem components did not occur in low-severity prescribed burns. Foliar δ15N differed between wildfire and prescribed burn sites; the δ15N of foliage of upland plants was enriched by 2.9 ‰ (difference between burned and unburned watersheds) in the first two years after wildfire, but only 1.3 ‰ after prescribed burns. In-stream moss δ15N in wildfire-burned watersheds was enriched by 1.3 ‰, but there was no response by moss in prescription-burned watersheds, mirroring patterns of streamwater nitrate concentrations. S. betulifolia showed significantly higher nitrate reductase activity two years after wildfires relative to corresponding unburned watersheds, but no such difference was found after prescribed burns. These responses are consistent with less altered N biogeochemistry after prescribed burns relative to wildfire. We concluded that δ15N values in terrestrial and aquatic plants and streamwater nitrate concentrations after fire can be useful indicators of the magnitude and duration of fire effects and the fate of post
Santin, Cristina; Doerr, Stefan; Preston, Caroline
Fire releases important quantities of carbon (C) to the atmosphere. Every year, an average of 460 Million ha burn around the globe, generating C emissions equivalent to a third of the current annual contribution from fossil fuel combustion. Over the longer-term wildfires are widely considered as 'net zero C emission events', because C emissions from fires, excluding those associated with deforestation and peatland fires, are balanced by C uptake by regenerating vegetation. This 'zero C emission' scenario, however, may be flawed, as it does not consider the production of pyrogenic C (PyC). During fire, part of the biomass C burnt is emitted to the atmosphere but part is transformed into PyC (i.e. charcoal). The enhanced resistance of PyC to environmental degradation compared to unburnt biomass gives it the potential to sequester C over the medium/long term. Therefore, after complete regeneration of the vegetation, the PyC generated may represent an additional C pool and, hence, recurring fire-regrowth cycles could represent net sinks of atmospheric C. To estimate the quantitative importance of PyC production, accurate data on PyC generation with respect to the fuel combusted are needed. Unfortunately, detailed quantification of fuel prior to fire is normally only available for prescribed and experimental fires, which are usually of low-intensity and therefore not representative of higher-intensity wildfires. Furthermore, what little data is available is usually based on only a specific fraction of the PyC present following burning rather than the whole range of PyC products and pools (i.e. PyC in soil, ash, downed wood and standing vegetation). To address this research gap, we utilized the globally unique FireSmart experimental forest fires in Northwest Canada. They are aimed to reproduce wildfire conditions typical for boreal forest and, at the same time, allow pre-fire fuel assessment, fire behaviour monitoring and immediate post-fire fuel and PyC inventory. This
Wilby, R.; Johnson, M. F.
Water temperature is an important determinant of river ecosystem function and health. Hence, there is growing concern about rising surface water temperatures as a consequence of global warming and human modifications to river regimes. Some agencies are advocating riparian shade management as a means of `keeping rivers cool'. As appealing as this policy might seem, there are a host of practical considerations such as which species to plant, where to plant, and how much to plant? Moreover, there can be unintended consequences for groundwater recharge, flood risk and nutrient fluxes through the buffer zone. The thermal benefits of tree-planting may also be hard to detect amidst the integrated, downstream effects of landscape shade and flows from springs. Yet, to truly evaluate shade management as an adaptation to climate change, clear evidence is needed of the costs and benefits of this local intervention. What has this got to do with natural modes of climate variability? Continental scale, hydrological impacts of ENSO, the PDO and NAO have been widely reported - these periodic variations in ocean-atmosphere circulations are often blamed for floods, droughts, wildfire, crop failures, and the like. But there is emerging evidence that such phenomena also drive inter-annual variations in the heat flux of rivers. This matters because the underlying signal can confound field and model experiments intended to test adaptation options. Here, we present evidence of NAO signatures in the water temperature regime of the River Dove, UK. We compare the amplitude of these thermal variations with the expected benefit of tree planting. We demonstrate that the difference in maximum summer water temperature between strongly positive and strongly negative NAO phases can be about 2.5°C. This is equivalent to the thermal benefit of more than 2 km of riparian shade for the river studied. So, whilst modes of climate variability undoubtedly have a global footprint, let us not forget that
David L. Peterson; James K. Agee; Gregory H. Aplet; Dennis P. Dykstra; Russell T. Graham; John F. Lehmkuhl; David S. Pilliod; Donald F. Potts; Robert F. Powers; John D. Stuart
Timber harvest following wildfire leads to different outcomes depending on the biophysical setting of the forest, pattern of burn severity, operational aspects of tree removal, and other management activities. Fire effects range from relatively minor, in which fire burns through the understory and may kill a few trees, to severe, in which fire kills most trees and...
Full Text Available Fire represents an important natural feature of Brazilian landscape, especially in the Cerrado biome. The Cerrado is the economic livelihood of thousands of people from rural areas in Brazil. It is one of the most important hotspot of biodiversity in the world but also it is a fire-prone area thanks to the high flammability index of the vegetation. Residents and native people of this environment use fire very frequently. The majority of wildfires are caused by humans, though there are some aggravating natural factors affecting the risk, intensity and severity of wildfires. Since residents are continuously involved in fire suppression activities, understanding their perceptions is important for the decision makers who must assess the local capacity to preserve natural resources. This study explores perceptions about wildfire risk and fire mitigation behaviors within three municipalities of the state of Tocantins (Brazil. The study demonstrates that survey participants perceived wildfire risk as rather high, although the perceptions were complex and conflicting among interviewees. A wide range of confused perceptions about fire ignition and heterogeneous point of view have carried out form the survey. However, the residence of interviewees and their educational attainment result the variables that significantly (p-value <0.05 affect the inhabitants’ perceptions.
Wilkins, Joseph L.
The influence of wildfire biomass burning and stratospheric air mass transport on tropospheric ozone (O3) concentrations in St. Louis during the SEAC4RS and SEACIONS-2013 measurement campaigns has been investigated. The Lagrangian particle dispersion model FLEXPART-WRF analysis reveals that 55% of ozonesonde profiles during SEACIONS were effected by biomass burning. Comparing ozonesonde profiles with numerical simulations show that as biomass burning plumes age there is O3 production aloft. A new plume injection height technique was developed based on the Naval Research Laboratory's (NRL) detection algorithm for pyro-convection. The NRL method identified 29 pyro-cumulonimbus events that occurred during the summer of 2013, of which 13 (44%) impacted the SEACIONS study area, and 4 (14%) impacted the St. Louis area. In this study, we investigate wildfire plume injection heights using model simulations and the FLAMBE emissions inventory using 2 different algorithms. In the first case, wildfire emissions are injected at the surface and allowed to mix within the boundary layer simulated by the meteorological model. In the second case, the injection height of wildfire emissions is determined by a guided deep-convective pyroCb run using the NRL detection algorithm. Results show that simulations using surface emissions were able to represent the transport of carbon monoxide plumes from wildfires when the plumes remained below 5 km or occurred during large convective systems, but that the surface effects were over predicted. The pyroCb cases simulated the long-range transport of elevated plumes above 5 km 68% of the time. In addition analysis of potential vorticity suggests that stratospheric intrusions or tropopause folds affected 13 days (48%) when there were sonde launches and 27 days (44%) during the entire study period. The largest impact occurred on September 12, 2013 when ozone-rich air impacted the nocturnal boundary layer. By analyzing ozonesonde profiles with
Dunnette, Paul V; Higuera, Philip E; McLauchlan, Kendra K; Derr, Kelly M; Briles, Christy E; Keefe, Margaret H
Wildfires can significantly alter forest carbon (C) storage and nitrogen (N) availability, but the long-term biogeochemical legacy of wildfires is poorly understood. We obtained a lake-sediment record of fire and biogeochemistry from a subalpine forest in Colorado, USA, to examine the nature, magnitude, and duration of decadal-scale, fire-induced ecosystem change over the past c. 4250 yr. The high-resolution record contained 34 fires, including 13 high-severity events within the watershed. High-severity fires were followed by increased sedimentary N stable isotope ratios (δ15N) and bulk density, and decreased C and N concentrations--reflecting forest floor destruction, terrestrial C and N losses, and erosion. Sustained low sediment C : N c. 20-50 yr post-fire indicates reduced terrestrial organic matter subsidies to the lake. Low sedimentary δ15N c. 50-70 yr post-fire, coincident with C and N recovery, suggests diminishing terrestrial N availability during stand development. The magnitude of post-fire changes generally scaled directly with inferred fire severity. Our results support modern studies of forest successional C and N accumulation and indicate pronounced, long-lasting biogeochemical impacts of wildfires in subalpine forests. However, even repeated high-severity fires over millennia probably did not deplete C or N stocks, because centuries between high-severity fires allowed for sufficient biomass recovery. © 2014 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2014 New Phytologist Trust.
Cobo-Díaz, José F.; Fernández-González, Antonio J.; Villadas, Pablo J.; Robles, Ana B.; Toro, Nicolás; Fernández-López, Manuel
Wildfires are frecuent in the forest of the Mediterranean Basin and have greatly influenced this ecosystem. Changes to the physical and chemical properties of the soil, due to fire and post-fire conditions result in alterations of both the bacterial communities and the nitrgen cycle,. We explored the effetcs of a holm-oak forest wildfire on the rhizospheric bacterial communities involved in the nitrogen cycle. Metagenomic data of the genes involved in the nitrogen cycle showed that both the u...
Internal boundaries in multiphase flow greatly complicate fluid-dynamic and heat-transfer descriptions. Different flow regimes or topological configurations can have radically dissimilar interfacial and wall mass, momentum, and energy exchanges. To model the flow dynamics properly requires estimates of these rates. In this paper the common flow regimes for gas-liquid systems are defined and the techniques used to estimate the extent of a particular regime are described. Also, the current computer-code procedures are delineated and introduce a potentially better method is introduced
Matthew P. Thompson; Nicole M. Vaillant; Jessica R. Haas; Krista M. Gebert; Keith D. Stockmann
Modeling the impacts and effects of hazardous fuel reduction treatments is a pressing issue within the wildfire management community. Prospective evaluation of fuel treatment effectiveness allows for comparison of alternative treatment strategies in terms of socioeconomic and ecological impacts and facilitates analysis of tradeoffs across land-management objectives....
Thompson, Dan K.; Waddington, James M.
SummaryPeatland vulnerability to wildfire disturbance has been shown to vary as a function of hummock and hollow microforms and vadose zone hydrology, with low-lying hollow microforms most susceptible to deep combustion of peat. To better understand how this microform induced pattern of burning alters vadose water storage, pore-water pressure, and water table relationships, we examined a paired burned and unburned peatland in the boreal plain region of north central Alberta. Water table response to rain events increased significantly after wildfire, resulting in a more variable unsaturated zone thickness that was more responsive to smaller rain events. Water storage losses in the vadose zone occurred primarily at depths greater than 15 cm. Large peat surface water loss occurred in hummock microforms in the early spring due to the presence of unsaturated frozen peat at depth, likely a result of a vapour gradient from the unfrozen peat into the frozen peat underneath. During this period, the loss of water storage in the vadose zone satisfied up to 25% of daily evaporative demand, compared to only 3-5% during ice-free periods. A similar but less severe drying was observed late in summer, with burned hummocks the most vulnerable with high pore-water pressures. The enhanced surface drying observed is a precursor to high pore-water pressure conditions that inhibit Sphagnum regeneration. Our observations point to a paradox where the hummocks, being most resistant to combustion, are themselves most prone to high pore-water pressures following wildfire. The harsher hummock environment may contribute to the observed delay in post-fire Sphagnum regeneration in hummocks compared to hollows.
Murphy, S. F.; Martin, D. A.; McCleskey, R. B.; Writer, J. H.
Forests yield high-quality water supplies to communities throughout the world, in part because forest cover reduces flooding and the consequent transport of suspended and dissolved constituents to surface water. Disturbance by wildfire reduces or eliminates forest cover, leaving watersheds susceptible to increased surface runoff during storms and reduced ability to retain contaminants. We assessed water-quality response to hydrologic events for three years after a wildfire in the Fourmile Creek Watershed, near Boulder, Colorado, and found that hydrologic and geochemical responses downstream of a burned area were primarily driven by small, brief convective storms that had relatively high, but not unusual, rainfall intensity. Total suspended sediment, dissolved organic carbon, nitrate, and manganese concentrations were 10-156 times higher downstream of a burned area compared to upstream, and water quality was sufficiently impaired to pose water-treatment concerns. The response in both concentration and yield of water-quality constituents differed depending on source availability and dominant watershed processes controlling the constituent. For example, while all constituent concentrations were highest during storm events, annual sediment yields downstream of the burned area were controlled by storm events and subsequent mobilization, whereas dissolved organic carbon yields were more dependent on spring runoff from upstream areas. The watershed response was affected by a legacy of historical disturbance: the watershed had been recovering from extensive disturbance by mining, railroad and road development, logging, and fires in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and we observed extensive erosion of mine waste in response to these summer storms. Therefore, both storm characteristics and historical disturbance in a burned watershed must be considered when evaluating the role of wildfire on water quality.
Nelson, Kurtis J.; Connot, Joel A.; Peterson, Birgit E.; Picotte, Joshua J.
Wildfire is a global phenomenon that affects human populations and ecosystems. Wildfire effects occur at local to global scales impacting many people in different ways (Figure 1). Ecological concerns due to land use, fragmentation, and climate change impact natural resource use, allocation, and conservation. Access to consistent and current environmental data is a constant challenge, yet necessary for understanding the complexities of wildfire and ecological management. Data products and tools from the LANDFIRE Program help decision-makers to clarify problems and identify possible solutions when managing fires and natural resources. LANDFIRE supports the reduction of risk from wildfire to human lives and property, monitoring of fire danger, prediction of fire behavior on active incidents, and assessment of fire severity and impacts on natural systems   . LANDFIRE products are unique in that they are nationally consistent and provide the only complete geospatial dataset describing vegetation and wildland fuel information for the entire U.S. As such, LANDFIRE data are useful for many ecological applications . For example, LANDFIRE data were recently integrated into a decision-support system for resource management and conservation decision-making along the Appalachian Trail. LANDFIRE is a joint effort between the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Wildland Fire, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Fire & Aviation Management, and The Nature Conservancy. To date, seven versions of LANDFIRE data have been released, with each successive version improving the quality of the data, adding additional features, and/or updating the time period represented by the data. The latest version, LANDFIRE 2010 (LF 2010), released mid-2013, represents circa 2010 landscape conditions and succeeds LANDFIRE 2008 (LF 2008), which represented circa 2008 landscape conditions. LF 2010 used many of the same processes developed for the LF 2008 effort . Ongoing
Full Text Available Biomass burning is an important source of tropospheric ozone (O3 and aerosols. These air pollutants can affect vegetation photosynthesis through stomatal uptake (for O3 and light scattering and absorption (for aerosols. Wildfire area burned is projected to increase significantly in boreal North America by the mid-century, while little is known about the impacts of enhanced emissions on the terrestrial carbon budget. Here, combining site-level and satellite observations and a carbon–chemistry–climate model, we estimate the impacts of fire emitted O3 and aerosols on net primary productivity (NPP over boreal North America. Fire emissions are calculated based on an ensemble projection from 13 climate models. In the present day, wildfire enhances surface O3 by 2 ppbv (7 % and aerosol optical depth (AOD at 550 nm by 0.03 (26 % in the summer. By mid-century, area burned is predicted to increase by 66 % in boreal North America, contributing more O3 (13 % and aerosols (37 %. Fire O3 causes negligible impacts on NPP because ambient O3 concentration (with fire contributions is below the damage threshold of 40 ppbv for 90 % summer days. Fire aerosols reduce surface solar radiation but enhance atmospheric absorption, resulting in enhanced air stability and intensified regional drought. The domain of this drying is confined to the north in the present day but extends southward by 2050 due to increased fire emissions. Consequently, wildfire aerosols enhance NPP by 72 Tg C yr−1 in the present day but decrease NPP by 118 Tg C yr−1 in the future, mainly because of the soil moisture perturbations. Our results suggest that future wildfire may accelerate boreal carbon loss, not only through direct emissions increasing from 68 Tg C yr−1 at present day to 130 Tg C yr−1 by mid-century but also through the biophysical impacts of fire aerosols.
Ramstack Hobbs, Joy M; Hobbs, William O; Edlund, Mark B; Zimmer, Kyle D; Theissen, Kevin M; Hoidal, Natalie; Domine, Leah M; Hanson, Mark A; Herwig, Brian R; Cotner, James B
Ecological shifts in shallow lakes from clear-water macrophyte-dominated to turbid-water phytoplankton-dominated are generally thought of as rapid short-term transitions. Diatom remains in sediment records from shallow lakes in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America provide new evidence that the long-term ecological stability of these lakes is defined by the legacy of large regime shifts. We examine the modern and historical stability of 11 shallow lakes. Currently, four of the lakes are in a clear-water state, three are consistently turbid-water, and four have been observed to change state from year to year (transitional). Lake sediment records spanning the past 150-200 yr suggest that (1) the diatom assemblage is characteristic of either clear or turbid lakes, (2) prior to significant landscape alteration, all of the lakes existed in a regime of a stable clear-water state, (3) lakes that are currently classified as turbid or transitional have experienced one strong regime shift over the past 150-200 yr and have since remained in a regime where turbid-water predominates, and (4) top-down impacts to the lake food-web from fish introductions appear to be the dominant driver of strong regime shifts and not increased nutrient availability. Based on our findings we demonstrate a method that could be used by lake managers to identify lakes that have an ecological history close to the clear-turbid regime threshold; such lakes might more easily be returned to a clear-water state through biomanipulation. The unfortunate reality is that many of these lakes are now part of a managed landscape and will likely require continued intervention. © 2016 by the Ecological Society of America.
M. A. Cochrane; C. J. Moran; M. C. Wimberly; A. D. Baer; M. A. Finney; K. L. Beckendorf; J. Eidenshink; Z. Zhu
Human land use practices, altered climates, and shifting forest and fire management policies have increased the frequency of large wildfires several-fold. Mitigation of potential fire behaviour and fire severity have increasingly been attempted through pre-fire alteration of wildland fuels using mechanical treatments and prescribed fires. Despite annual treatment of...
Yufang Jin; Michael L. Goulden; Nicolas Faivre; Sander Veraverbeke; Fengpeng Sun; Alex Hall; Michael S. Hand; Simon Hook; James T. Randerson
The area burned by Southern California wildfires has increased in recent decades, with implications for human health, infrastructure, and ecosystem management. Meteorology and fuel structure are universally recognized controllers of wildfire, but their relative importance, and hence the efficacy of abatement and suppression efforts, remains controversial....
Rota, Christopher T; Millspaugh, Joshua J; Rumble, Mark A; Lehman, Chad P; Kesler, Dylan C
Wildfire and mountain pine beetle infestations are naturally occurring disturbances in western North American forests. Black-backed woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus) are emblematic of the role these disturbances play in creating wildlife habitat, since they are strongly associated with recently-killed forests. However, management practices aimed at reducing the economic impact of natural disturbances can result in habitat loss for this species. Although black-backed woodpeckers occupy habitats created by wildfire, prescribed fire, and mountain pine beetle infestations, the relative value of these habitats remains unknown. We studied habitat-specific adult and juvenile survival probabilities and reproductive rates between April 2008 and August 2012 in the Black Hills, South Dakota. We estimated habitat-specific adult and juvenile survival probability with Bayesian multi-state models and habitat-specific reproductive success with Bayesian nest survival models. We calculated asymptotic population growth rates from estimated demographic rates with matrix projection models. Adult and juvenile survival and nest success were highest in habitat created by summer wildfire, intermediate in MPB infestations, and lowest in habitat created by fall prescribed fire. Mean posterior distributions of population growth rates indicated growing populations in habitat created by summer wildfire and declining populations in fall prescribed fire and mountain pine beetle infestations. Our finding that population growth rates were positive only in habitat created by summer wildfire underscores the need to maintain early post-wildfire habitat across the landscape. The lower growth rates in fall prescribed fire and MPB infestations may be attributed to differences in predator communities and food resources relative to summer wildfire.
Christopher T Rota
Full Text Available Wildfire and mountain pine beetle infestations are naturally occurring disturbances in western North American forests. Black-backed woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus are emblematic of the role these disturbances play in creating wildlife habitat, since they are strongly associated with recently-killed forests. However, management practices aimed at reducing the economic impact of natural disturbances can result in habitat loss for this species. Although black-backed woodpeckers occupy habitats created by wildfire, prescribed fire, and mountain pine beetle infestations, the relative value of these habitats remains unknown. We studied habitat-specific adult and juvenile survival probabilities and reproductive rates between April 2008 and August 2012 in the Black Hills, South Dakota. We estimated habitat-specific adult and juvenile survival probability with Bayesian multi-state models and habitat-specific reproductive success with Bayesian nest survival models. We calculated asymptotic population growth rates from estimated demographic rates with matrix projection models. Adult and juvenile survival and nest success were highest in habitat created by summer wildfire, intermediate in MPB infestations, and lowest in habitat created by fall prescribed fire. Mean posterior distributions of population growth rates indicated growing populations in habitat created by summer wildfire and declining populations in fall prescribed fire and mountain pine beetle infestations. Our finding that population growth rates were positive only in habitat created by summer wildfire underscores the need to maintain early post-wildfire habitat across the landscape. The lower growth rates in fall prescribed fire and MPB infestations may be attributed to differences in predator communities and food resources relative to summer wildfire.
Full Text Available To achieve the Millennium Development Goals, international technology transfer can play a major role for poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability. At present, there are economic, social and legal (rather than technical barriers preventing the transfer of environmentally sound technology (EST from a wider use in international regimes. Removing these barriers requires greater political and regulatory efforts both domestically and internationally. To enable EST transfer, developed States need to improve domestic market conditions such as removal of negative subsidies and barriers to foreign investment, targeted fiscal incentives and law reforms favouring sustainable production and use of energy. There is no realistic perspective for international EST transfer as long as it is disadvantaged domestically. A coherent EST transfer regime is only possible through greater governmental intervention at the national and international level, including environmental regulations, national systems of innovation, and creating an enabling environment for EST. Such intervention should include effective public-private partnerships, both within and between States. Partnerships, if guided by law, could ensure EST innovation more efficiently than purely State-driven or market-driven EST transfers. In search for a model, the EST transfer regime under the Vienna Ozone Layer Convention and the Montreal Protocol deserves recognition. For example, the clean development mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol allows for considerable scope for EST transfer. The potential of EST transfer for climate change and for meeting the Millennium Development Goals has yet to be realized.
Wildfires are common to the Mediterranean region due to its defined dry season and long historical anthropogenic activities. Most of post-wildfire studies focus on mountains areas and thus refer to the hill-slope and its physical characteristics, e.g. morphology, length, angles, and aspect; its soil characteristics, e.g. type, infiltration rate, repellency; and its vegetative covers, e.g. planted trees vs. natural forest or native vs. exotic vegetation. In contrary there is very limited literature focusing on ecological and hydro-geomorphic aspects of post-wildfire of riparian vegetation / zone probably because of its negligible burned area relative to the spread of the fire, sometimes, over the whole watershed area. The limited literature on the topic is surprising given the fact that riparian vegetation zone has been acknowledged as a unique and important habitat supporting rich biodiversity. Herein we report on a wildfire event occurred on October 14th 2009 in a river section of Nahal Grar, Northern Negev Desert, Israel. The wildfire although was limited in its area (only 3 hectare) extended over the channel alone from bank to bank and thus provide a unique case study of completely burn down of riparian vegetation, mainly dense stands of Common Red (Australis Phragmites. Therefore a detailed study of this event provides an opportunity to tackle one of the basics questions which is determining the rate of natural restoration process that act at the immediate time after the wildfire event occurred. This type of information is most valuable to professional and stakeholders for better management of post-fire riparian zones. The results of the study suggest that under stable conditions, i.e. no major flood events occurred; disturbance time was short and ranged over 200 days due to, almost, immediate recovery of the riparian vegetation. However the re-growth of the riparian vegetation was not even but rather deferential and more complex then reported in the literature
Full Text Available With the proliferation of the geospatial technologies on the Internet, the role of geo-portals (i.e. gateways to Spatial Data Infrastructures in the area of wildfires management emerges. However, keyword-based techniques often frustrate users when looking for data of interest in geo-portal environments, while little attention has been paid to shift from the conventional keyword-based to navigation-based mechanisms. The presented OntoFire system is an ontology-based geo-portal about wildfires. Through the proposed navigation mechanisms, the relationships between the data can be discovered, which would otherwise not be possible when using conventional querying techniques alone. End users can use the browsing interface to find resources of interest by using the navigation mechanisms provided. Data providers can use the publishing interface to submit new metadata, modify metadata or removing metadata in/from the catalogue. The proposed approach can improve the discovery of valuable information that is necessary to set priorities for disaster mitigation and prevention strategies. OntoFire aspires to be a focal point of integration and management of a very large amount of information, contributing in this way to the dissemination of knowledge and to the preparedness of the operational stakeholders.
Kurth, Valerie J; Hart, Stephen C; Ross, Christopher S; Kaye, Jason P; Fulé, Peter Z
Stand-replacing wildfires are a novel disturbance within ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests of the southwestern United States, and they can convert forests to grasslands or shrublands for decades. While most research shows that soil inorganic N pools and fluxes return to pre-fire levels within a few years, we wondered if vegetation conversion (ponderosa pine to bunchgrass) following stand-replacing fires might be accompanied by a long-term shift in N cycling processes. Using a 34-year stand-replacing wildfire chronosequence with paired, adjacent unburned patches, we examined the long-term dynamics of net and gross nitrogen (N) transformations. We hypothesized that N availability in burned patches would become more similar to those in unburned patches over time after fire as these areas become re-vegetated. Burned patches had higher net and gross nitrification rates than unburned patches (P < 0.01 for both), and nitrification accounted for a greater proportion of N mineralization in burned patches for both net (P < 0.01) and gross (P < 0.04) N transformation measurements. However, trends with time-after-fire were not observed for any other variables. Our findings contrast with previous work, which suggested that high nitrification rates are a short-term response to disturbance. Furthermore, high nitrification rates at our site were not simply correlated with the presence of herbaceous vegetation. Instead, we suggest that stand-replacing wildfire triggers a shift in N cycling that is maintained for at least three decades by various factors, including a shift from a woody to an herbaceous ecosystem and the presence of fire-deposited charcoal.
Rita S. Dodge; Peter Z. Fule; Carolyn Hull Sieg
Severe wildfires often facilitate the spread of exotic invasive species, such as Dalmatian toadflax (Linaria dalmatica). We hypothesized that toadflax growth and reproduction would increase with increasing burn severity in a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)-dominated forest. We measured toadflax density, cover, flowering stalks,...
This research presents a novel perspective on college students and their risk perception in a fire prone US State; Idaho. Idaho was "top #1" in burned lands by acreage in 2012 with approximate 15% of all US burned lands; in 2013 "top #2". Past studies have conducted surveys on residents in high wildfire risk communities to learn what factors make homeowners more likely to engage in mitigation activities and therefore increase communities' resiliency. This research emphasis is on a population that deals with the threat of fire but is likely less invested through property ownership and other investment of risk; yet, equally threatened in quality of life. Are college students the left-out population in the 'planning for wildfires' and its communication process? Main hypothesis is that a college population will have a different perception and awareness (and therefore mitigation actions) than i.e. residents invested in the wild land urban interface (WUI). Dominant research methodologies in past studies are identified as surveys, focus groups, or interviews focusing on homeowners in fire prone areas that have witnessed wildfire or are exposed to increasing fire risk. Yet again, research on population that has no property ownership, investments at stake, and therefore no direct monetary values associated (but potentially non-monetary), is found little to none in these studies. The university population based study and its findings offers a contrast to current literature related to these traditional residents surveys/interviews. The study's survey and interactive spatial assessment of risk perception with allocation of perceived hazards zones promotes understanding of where risk is apparent for participants. Results are used to inform agencies such as campus emergency management, regional wild fire mitigation efforts, and to enhance public communication. Lessons learned include the challenges of a comprehensive inclusion process when mitigating for hazards and building
Hassani, Roumaissa; Mordant, Nicolas
The Weak Turbulence Theory (WTT) is a statistical theory describing the interaction of a large ensemble of random waves characterized by very different length scales. For both weak non-linearity and weak dispersion a different regime is predicted where solitons propagate while keeping their shape unchanged. The question under investigation here is which regime between weak turbulence or soliton gas does the system choose ? We report an experimental investigation of wave turbulence at the surface of finite depth water in the gravity-capillary range. We tune the wave dispersion and the level of nonlinearity by modifying the depth of water and the forcing respectively. We use space-time resolved profilometry to reconstruct the deformed surface of water. When decreasing the water depth, we observe a drastic transition between weak turbulence at the weakest forcing and a solitonic regime at stronger forcing. We characterize the transition between both states by studying their Fourier Spectra. We also study the efficiency of energy transfer in the weak turbulence regime. We report a loss of efficiency of angular transfer as the dispersion of the wave is reduced until the system bifurcates into the solitonic regime. This project has recieved funding from the European Research Council (ERC, Grant Agreement No. 647018-WATU).
Devisscher, Tahia; Anderson, Liana O; Aragão, Luiz E O C; Galván, Luis; Malhi, Yadvinder
Wildfires are becoming increasingly dominant in tropical landscapes due to reinforcing feedbacks between land cover change and more severe dry conditions. This study focused on the Bolivian Chiquitania, a region located at the southern edge of Amazonia. The extensive, unique and well-conserved tropical dry forest in this region is susceptible to wildfires due to a marked seasonality. We used a novel approach to assess fire risk at the regional level driven by different development trajectories interacting with changing climatic conditions. Possible future risk scenarios were simulated using maximum entropy modelling with presence-only data, combining land cover, anthropogenic and climatic variables. We found that important determinants of fire risk in the region are distance to roads, recent deforestation and density of human settlements. Severely dry conditions alone increased the area of high fire risk by 69%, affecting all categories of land use and land cover. Interactions between extreme dry conditions and rapid frontier expansion further increased fire risk, resulting in potential biomass loss of 2.44±0.8 Tg in high risk area, about 1.8 times higher than the estimates for the 2010 drought. These interactions showed particularly high fire risk in land used for 'extensive cattle ranching', 'agro-silvopastoral use' and 'intensive cattle ranching and agriculture'. These findings have serious implications for subsistence activities and the economy in the Chiquitania, which greatly depend on the forestry, agriculture and livestock sectors. Results are particularly concerning if considering the current development policies promoting frontier expansion. Departmental protected areas inhibited wildfires when strategically established in areas of high risk, even under drought conditions. However, further research is needed to assess their effectiveness accounting for more specific contextual factors. This novel and simple modelling approach can inform fire and land
Keith, Heather; Lindenmayer, David B; Mackey, Brendan G; Blair, David; Carter, Lauren; McBurney, Lachlan; Okada, Sachiko; Konishi-Nagano, Tomoko
Carbon stock change due to forest management and disturbance must be accounted for in UNFCCC national inventory reports and for signatories to the Kyoto Protocol. Impacts of disturbance on greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories are important for many countries with large forest estates prone to wildfires. Our objective was to measure changes in carbon stocks due to short-term combustion and to simulate longer-term carbon stock dynamics resulting from redistribution among biomass components following wildfire. We studied the impacts of a wildfire in 2009 that burnt temperate forest of tall, wet eucalypts in south-eastern Australia. Biomass combusted ranged from 40 to 58 tC ha(-1), which represented 6-7% and 9-14% in low- and high-severity fire, respectively, of the pre-fire total biomass carbon stock. Pre-fire total stock ranged from 400 to 1040 tC ha(-1) depending on forest age and disturbance history. An estimated 3.9 TgC was emitted from the 2009 fire within the forest region, representing 8.5% of total biomass carbon stock across the landscape. Carbon losses from combustion were large over hours to days during the wildfire, but from an ecosystem dynamics perspective, the proportion of total carbon stock combusted was relatively small. Furthermore, more than half the stock losses from combustion were derived from biomass components with short lifetimes. Most biomass remained on-site, although redistributed from living to dead components. Decomposition of these components and new regeneration constituted the greatest changes in carbon stocks over ensuing decades. A critical issue for carbon accounting policy arises because the timeframes of ecological processes of carbon stock change are longer than the periods for reporting GHG inventories for national emissions reductions targets. Carbon accounts should be comprehensive of all stock changes, but reporting against targets should be based on human-induced changes in carbon stocks to incentivise mitigation activities.
Constrained Optimization for the Control of a Wildfire Hazard Herausgegeben von der Professor fur Angewandte Mathematik Professor Dr. rer. nat. Armin...and H.H. Tan . Finite difference methods for solving the two-dimensional advection-diffusion equation. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Fluids, 9:75-98, 1989. 6
Liedloff, Adam C.; Wilson, John C.; Engeman, Richard M.
The influences of wildfire through population dynamics and life history for two species of small mammals in a south-east Queensland heathland on Bribie Island are presented. Trapping results provided information on breeding, immigration and movement of Melomys burtoni (Grassland melomys) and Rattus lutreolus (Swamp rat). We first investigated and optimized the design of trapping methodology for producing mark-recapture population estimates to compare two adjacent populations, one of which was subjected to an extensive wildfire during the two year study. We consider how well rodents survive wildfire and whether the immediate impacts of fire or altered habitat have the greatest impact on each species. We found the R. lutreolus population was far more influenced by the fire than the M. burtoni population both immediately after the fire and over 18 months of vegetation recovery.
Rationale: Wildfire smoke often impacts rural areas without air quality monitors, limiting assessment of health impacts. A 2008 wildfire in Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge produced massive quantities of smoke affecting eastern NC, a rural area with limited air quality moni...
Rodríguez-Marroyo, J A; Villa, J G; López-Satue, J; Pernía, R; Carballo, B; García-López, J; Foster, C
The aim of this study was to analyse the physiological strain of firefighters, using heart rate (HR) and core temperature, during real wildfire suppression according to the type of attack performed (direct, indirect or mixed). Three intensity zones were established according to the HR corresponding to the ventilatory threshold (VT) and respiratory compensation threshold (RCT): zone 1, RCT. The exercise workload (training impulse (TRIMP)), the physiological strain index (PSI) and the cumulative heat strain index(CHSI) were calculated using the time spent in each zone, and the HR and core temperature, respectively. Significantly higher mean HR, time spent in Z2 and Z3 and TRIMP h(-1) were found in direct and mixed versus indirect attacks. The highest PSI and CHSI were observed in the direct attack. In conclusion, exercise strain and combined thermal strain, but not core temperature during wildfire suppression, are related to the type of attack performed. STATEMENT OF RELEVANCE: Our findings demonstrated that wildfire firefighting is associated with high physiological demands, which vary significantly depending on the tactics chosen for performing the task. These results should be kept in mind when planning programmes to improve wildland firefighters' physical fitness, which will allow improvement in their performance.
Elkjaer, Bente; Nickelsen, Niels Christian Mossfeldt
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how workplace interventions may benefit from a simultaneous focus on individuals' learning and knowledge and on the situatedness of workplaces in the wider world of changing professional knowledge regimes. This is illustrated by the demand for evidence-based practice in health care.…
Ikuho Kochi; Patricia A. Champ; John B. Loomis; Geoffrey H. Donovan
While the mortality impacts of urban air pollution have been well addressed in the literature, very little is known about the mortality impacts and associated social cost from wildfire-smoke exposure (Kochi et al., 2010; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2004). In an attempt to address this knowledge gap, we estimate the social cost associated with excess mortality...
Szendrő Fire Department is located in the northeastern part of Hungary. The main task is to fight against wildfire and mitigate the impact of fire at the Aggtelek National Park -- which belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Because of greater effectiveness, in 2004 the Fire Department started a project named Integrated Vegetation Fire Management (IVFM)....
J. Campbell; D. Donato; D. Azuma; B. Law
We used a ground-based approach to compute the pyrogenic carbon emissions from the Biscuit Fire, an exceptionally large wildfire, which in 2002 burned over 200,000 ha of mixed conifer forest in southwestern Oregon. A combination of federal inventory data and supplementary ground measurements afforded the estimation of preburn densities for 25 separate carbon pools at...
Doerr, Stefan; Santin, Cristina; Reardon, James; Mataix-Solera, Jorge; Stoof, Cathelijne; Bryant, Rob; Miesel, Jessica; Badia, David
Heat transfer from the combustion of ground fuels and soil organic matter during vegetation fires can cause substantial changes to the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of soils. Numerous studies have investigated the effects of wildfires and prescribed burns on soil properties based either on field samples or using laboratory experiments. Critical thresholds for changes in soil properties, however, have been determined largely based on laboratory heating experimentation. These experimental approaches have been criticized for being inadequate for reflecting the actual heating patterns soil experienced in vegetation fires, which remain poorly understood. To address this research gap, this study reviews existing and evaluates new field data on key soil heating parameters determined during wildfires and prescribed burns from a wide range of environments. The results highlight the high spatial and temporal variability in soil heating patters not only between, but also within fires. Most wildfires and prescribed burns are associated with heat pulses that are much shorter than those typically applied in laboratory studies, which can lead to erroneous conclusions when results from laboratory studies are used to predict fire impacts on soils in the field.
Past fire exclusion policies and fire suppression actions have led to a historic "fire deficit" on public wildlands. These sociocultural actions have led to unprecedented environmental changes that have created conditions conducive to more frequent large-scale wildfires. Politicians, the newsmedia, and agency officials portray large wildland fires as...
Full Text Available We aimed to analyze the relationship between fire regime attributes and the post-fire greenness recovery of fire-prone pine ecosystems over the short (2-year and medium (5-year term after a large wildfire, using both a single and a combined fire regime attribute approach. We characterized the spatial (fire size, temporal (number of fires, fire recurrence, and return interval, and magnitude (burn severity of the last fire fire regime attributes throughout a 40-year period with a long-time series of Landsat imagery and ancillary data. The burn severity of the last fire was measured by the dNBR (difference of the Normalized Burn Ratio spectral index, and classified according to the ground reference values of the CBI (Composite Burn Index. Post-fire greenness recovery was obtained through the difference of the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index between pre- and post-fire Landsat scenes. The relationship between fire regime attributes (single attributes: fire recurrence, fire return interval, and burn severity; combined attributes: fire recurrence-burn severity and fire return interval-burn severity and post-fire greenness recovery was evaluated using linear models. The results indicated that all the single and combined attributes significantly affected greenness recovery. The single attribute approach showed that high recurrence, short return interval and low severity situations had the highest vegetation greenness recovery. The combined attribute approach allowed us to identify a wider variety of post-fire greenness recovery situations than the single attribute one. Over the short term, high recurrence as well as short return interval scenarios showed the best post-fire greenness recovery independently of burn severity, while over the medium term, high recurrence combined with low severity was the most recovered scenario. This novel combined attribute approach (temporal plus magnitude could be of great value to forest managers in the
Donna L. Peppin
A changing climate and fire regime shifts in the western United States have led to an increase in revegetation activities, in particular post-wildfire rehabilitation and the need for locally-adapted plant materials. Broadcast seeding is one of the most widely used post-wildfire emergency response treatments to minimize soil erosion, promote plant community recovery,...
Konovalov, Igor B.; Beekmann, Matthias; Kaiser, Johannes W.; Shudyaev, Anton A.; Yurova, Alla; Kuznetsova, Irina N.
Wildfires episodically provide a major contribution to air pollution in many regions of the world. For example, the extreme air pollution level and strongly reduced visibility were observed in the Central European region of Russia during the intensive wildfire events in summer of 2010. Such episodes provide a strong impetus for further developments in air pollution modeling, aimed at improving the ability of chemistry transport models to simulate and predict evolution of atmospheric composition affected by wildfires. The main goals of our study are (1) to investigate the diurnal cycles of air pollutant emissions from wildfires in several European regions, taking into account the fire radiative power (FRP) satellite measurements for different vegetation land cover types and (2) to examine the possibilities of improving air pollution simulations by assimilating the diurnal variability of the FRP measurements performed by the polar orbiting (MODIS) and geostationary (SEVIRI) satellite instruments into a chemistry transport model. These goals are addressed for the case of wildfires occurred in summer 2010. The analysis of both the MODIS and SEVIRI data indicate that air pollutant emissions from wildfires in Europe in summer 2010 were typically much larger during daytime than during nighttime. The important exception is intensive fires around Moscow, featuring an almost "flat" diurnal cycle. These findings confirm the similar results reported earlier  but also extend them by attributing the flat diurnal cycle only to forest fires and by examining a hypothetical association of the "abnormal" diurnal cycle of FRP with peat fires. The derived diurnal variations of wildfire emissions have been used in the framework of the modeling system employed in our previous studies of the atmospheric effects of the 2010 Russian wildfires [2, 3]. The numerical experiments reveal that while the character of the diurnal variation of wildfire emissions has a rather small impact on the
Sriram Ganapathi Subramanian
Full Text Available Machine learning algorithms have increased tremendously in power in recent years but have yet to be fully utilized in many ecology and sustainable resource management domains such as wildlife reserve design, forest fire management, and invasive species spread. One thing these domains have in common is that they contain dynamics that can be characterized as a spatially spreading process (SSP, which requires many parameters to be set precisely to model the dynamics, spread rates, and directional biases of the elements which are spreading. We present related work in artificial intelligence and machine learning for SSP sustainability domains including forest wildfire prediction. We then introduce a novel approach for learning in SSP domains using reinforcement learning (RL where fire is the agent at any cell in the landscape and the set of actions the fire can take from a location at any point in time includes spreading north, south, east, or west or not spreading. This approach inverts the usual RL setup since the dynamics of the corresponding Markov Decision Process (MDP is a known function for immediate wildfire spread. Meanwhile, we learn an agent policy for a predictive model of the dynamics of a complex spatial process. Rewards are provided for correctly classifying which cells are on fire or not compared with satellite and other related data. We examine the behavior of five RL algorithms on this problem: value iteration, policy iteration, Q-learning, Monte Carlo Tree Search, and Asynchronous Advantage Actor-Critic (A3C. We compare to a Gaussian process-based supervised learning approach and also discuss the relation of our approach to manually constructed, state-of-the-art methods from forest wildfire modeling. We validate our approach with satellite image data of two massive wildfire events in Northern Alberta, Canada; the Fort McMurray fire of 2016 and the Richardson fire of 2011. The results show that we can learn predictive, agent
Nyman, P.; Rutherfurd, I.; Lane, P. N. J.; Sheridan, G. J.
In southeast Australia a series of exceptional climate events over the last decade have resulted in widespread debris flow activity across the region. The Millennium Drought (1996-2010), extreme fire-weather and record breaking rainfall in the La Nina year of 2011 have all contributed to an intensification of processes such as runoff production and mass failures that lead to debris flows. Debris flows in landmark locations such as the Grampians and Wilsons Promontory National Parks in 2011 were triggered by mass failure as a result of large volumes of intense summer rainfall. Runoff generated debris flows in burned areas have been occurring regularly and in large numbers along the East Coast Dividing Range from the Warrumbungle Mountains (New South Wales) in the north to Kinglake (Victoria) in the south. In northeast Victoria debris flows have been delivering sediment to the Ovens River following wildfires in 2003, 2007, 2009 and in 2013. The impact of these erosion events on infrastructure, water quality and aquatic ecosystems are considerable and important questions are emerging around i) how frequently events have occurred in the past, ii) the importance of fire as a geomorphic agent, and iii) the effects of climate change on erosion regimes. In this paper we investigate the conditions under which these debris flows occurred, and examine the underlying climatic events in context of historical records. Using data on rainfall distributions and fire history dating back to the 1960s we quantify the frequency with which catchments are primed for extreme erosion events. With these data we begin to speculate on whether or not current catchment conditions (e.g. soil depths, colluvial storage and accumulation rate) is consistent with the erosion regimes we observe. The broader aim of our research is to quantify debris flow thresholds using geophysical response models and use these models to determine the sensitivity of debris flow frequency to climatic forcing. In the
Cobo-Díaz, José F; Fernández-González, Antonio J; Villadas, Pablo J; Robles, Ana B; Toro, Nicolás; Fernández-López, Manuel
Wildfires are frequent in the forests of the Mediterranean Basin and have greatly influenced this ecosystem. Changes to the physical and chemical properties of the soil, due to fire and post-fire conditions, result in alterations of both the bacterial communities and the nitrogen cycle. We explored the effects of a holm oak forest wildfire on the rhizospheric bacterial communities involved in the nitrogen cycle. Metagenomic data of the genes involved in the nitrogen cycle showed that both the undisturbed and burned rhizospheres had a conservative nitrogen cycle with a larger number of sequences related to the nitrogen incorporation pathways and a lower number for nitrogen output. However, the burned rhizosphere showed a statistically significant increase in the number of sequences for nitrogen incorporation (allantoin utilization and nitrogen fixation) and a significantly lower number of sequences for denitrification and dissimilatory nitrite reductase subsystems, possibly in order to compensate for nitrogen loss from the soil after burning. The genetic potential for nitrogen incorporation into the ecosystem was assessed through the diversity of the nitrogenase reductase enzyme, which is encoded by the nifH gene. We found that nifH gene diversity and richness were lower in burned than in undisturbed rhizospheric soils. The structure of the bacterial communities involved in the nitrogen cycle showed a statistically significant increase of Actinobacteria and Firmicutes phyla after the wildfire. Both approaches showed the important role of gram-positive bacteria in the ecosystem after a wildfire.
Menkhoff, Lukas; Stöhr, Tobias
Central banks frequently intervene in foreign exchange markets. Using recognized criteria this report analyzes the probability of success in a data set of 4,500 intervention episodes in 33 countries. It is important to differentiate among exchange rate regimes because each focuses on a different goal. While flexible exchange rate regimes intervene less frequently and seek to influence trends, other regimes target exchange rate stabilization by establishing a band within which the exchange rat...
27. 20“ Fire Improvements Needed,” 15. 21“Fire Improvements Needed,” 16. In British Columbia, Canadian wildfire pilots complete after action...Listed in the crash report, the primary cause of the mishap was poor communication of changing weather conditions and pilot error. Reduced crew...through swapping in fresh crews; the station fire would have had continuous aviation coverage. Experienced with multitasking and high workloads in the
Brey, S. J.; Fischer, E. V.; Pierce, J. R.; Ford, B.; Lassman, W.; Pfister, G.; Volckens, J.; Gan, R.; Magzamen, S.; Barnes, E. A.
Exposure to wildfire smoke plumes represents an episodic, uncertain, and potentially growing threat to public health in the western United States. The area burned by wildfires in this region has increased over recent decades, and the future of fires within this region is largely unknown. Future fire emissions are intimately linked to future meteorological conditions, which are uncertain due to the variability of climate model outputs and differences between representative concentration pathways (RCP) scenarios. We know that exposure to wildfire smoke is harmful, particularly for vulnerable populations. However the literature on the heath effects of wildfire smoke exposure is thin, particularly when compared to the depth of information we have on the effects of exposure to smoke of anthropogenic origin. We are exploring the relationships between climate, fires, air quality and public health through multiple interdisciplinary collaborations. We will present several examples from these projects including 1) an analysis of the influence of fire on ozone abundances over the United States, and 2) efforts to use a high-resolution weather forecasting model to nail down exposure within specific smoke plumes. We will also highlight how our team works together. This discussion will include examples of the university structure that facilitates our current collaborations, and the lessons we have learned by seeking stakeholder input to make our science more useful.
Matthew P. Thompson; Nicole M. Vaillant; Jessica R. Haas; Krista M. Gebert; Keith D. Stockmann
Modeling the impacts and effects of hazardous fuel reduction treatments is a pressing issue within the wildfire management community. Prospective evaluation of fuel treatments allows for comparison of alternative treatment strategies in terms of socioeconomic and ecological impacts and facilitates analysis of tradeoffs across land management objectives (Stockmann et al...
Kitzberger, Thomas; Brown, Peter M; Heyerdahl, Emily K; Swetnam, Thomas W; Veblen, Thomas T
Widespread synchronous wildfires driven by climatic variation, such as those that swept western North America during 1996, 2000, and 2002, can result in major environmental and societal impacts. Understanding relationships between continental-scale patterns of drought and modes of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) such as El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) may explain how interannual to multidecadal variability in SSTs drives fire at continental scales. We used local wildfire chronologies reconstructed from fire scars on tree rings across western North America and independent reconstructions of SST developed from tree-ring widths at other sites to examine the relationships of multicentury patterns of climate and fire synchrony. From 33,039 annually resolved fire-scar dates at 238 sites (the largest paleofire record yet assembled), we examined forest fires at regional and subcontinental scales. Since 1550 CE, drought and forest fires covaried across the West, but in a manner contingent on SST modes. During certain phases of ENSO and PDO, fire was synchronous within broad subregions and sometimes asynchronous among those regions. In contrast, fires were most commonly synchronous across the West during warm phases of the AMO. ENSO and PDO were the main drivers of high-frequency variation in fire (interannual to decadal), whereas the AMO conditionally changed the strength and spatial influence of ENSO and PDO on wildfire occurrence at multidecadal scales. A current warming trend in AMO suggests that we may expect an increase in widespread, synchronous fires across the western U.S. in coming decades.
Rudell, T. M. (Theresa M.); Gille, R. W. (Roland W.)
The Cerro Grande Fire developed from a prescribed burn by the National Park Service at Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, New Mexico. When the burn went out of control and became a wildfire, it attracted worldwide attention because it threatened the birthplace of the atomic bomb, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Was LANL prepared for a fire? What lessons have been learned?
Gerald Gottfried; Steve Overby
New knowledge of fire regimes in the pinyon-juniper woodlands of the interior western United States has altered management views. Once known as being at low wildfire risk, these woodlands are now at a higher risk for severe wildfires because of high tree densities exacerbated by ongoing drought and region-wide bark beetle (Ips confusus) infestation. To help reduce...
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Frequently, models are required to combine information obtained from different data sources and on different scales. In this work, we are interested in estimating the risk of wildfire ignition in the USA for a particular time and location by merging two levels of data, namely, individual points and aggregate count of points into areas. The data for federal lands consist of the point location and time of each fire. Nonfederal fires are aggregated by county for a particular year. The probability model is based on the wildfire point process. Assuming a smooth intensity function, a locally weighted likelihood fit is used, which incorporates the group effect. A logit model is used under the assumption of the existence of a latent process, and fuel conditions are included as a covariate. The model assessment is based on a residual analysis, while the False Discovery Rate detects spatial patterns. A benefit of the proposed model is that there is no need of arbitrary aggregation of individual fires into counts. A map of predicted probability of ignition for the Midwest US in 1990 is included. The predicted ignition probabilities and the estimated total number of expected fires are required for the allocation of resources.
John L. Campbell; Alan A. Ager
Fuel reduction treatments prescribed in fire-suppressed forests of western North America pose an apparent paradox with respect to terrestrial carbon management. Such treatments have the immediate effect of reducing forest carbon stocks but likely reduce future carbon losses through the combustion and mortality caused by high-severity wildfires. Assessing the long-term...
Susan Charnley; Melissa R. Poe; Alan A. Ager; Thomas A. Spies; Emily K. Platt; Keith A. Olsen
Disasters result from hazards affecting vulnerable people. Most disasters research by anthropologists focuses on vulnerability; this article focuses on natural hazards. We use the case of wildfire mitigation on United States Forest Service lands in the northwestern United States to examine social, political, and economic variables at multiple scales that influence fire...
ONeill, S. M.; Larkin, N. K.; Martinez, M.; Rorig, M.; Solomon, R. C.; Dubowy, J.; Lahm, P. W.
Specialists operationally deployed to wildfires to forecast expected smoke conditions for the public use many tools and information. These Air Resource Advisors (ARAs) are deployed as part of the Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program (WFAQRP) and rely on smoke models, monitoring data, meteorological information, and satellite information to produce daily Smoke Outlooks for a region impacted by smoke from wildfires. These Smoke Outlooks are distributed to air quality and health agencies, published online via smoke blogs and other social media, and distributed by the Incident Public Information Officer (PIO), and ultimately to the public. Fundamental to these operations are smoke modeling systems such as the BlueSky Smoke Modeling Framework, which combines fire activity information, mapped fuel loadings, consumption and emissions models, and air quality/dispersion models such as HYSPLIT to produce predictions of PM2.5 concentrations downwind of wildland fires. Performance of this system at a variety of meteorological resolutions, fire initialization information, and vertical allocation of emissions is evaluated for the Summer of 2015 when over 400,000 hectares burned in the northwestern US state of Washington and 1-hr average fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations exceeded 700 μg/m3. The performance of the system at the 12-km, 4-km, and 1.33-km resolutions is evaluated using 1-hr average PM2.5 measurements from permanent monitors and temporary monitors deployed specifically for wildfires by ARAs on wildfire incident command teams. At the higher meteorological resolution (1.33-km) the terrain features are more detailed, showing better valley structures and in general, PM2.5 concentrations were greater in the valleys with the 1.33-km meteorological domain than with the 4-km domain.
Price, O. F.; Bradstock, R. A.
In order to quantify the risks from fire at the wildland urban interface (WUI), it is important to understand where fires occur and their likelihood of spreading to the WUI. For each of the 999 fires in the Sydney region we calculated the distance between the ignition and the WUI, the fire's weather and wind direction and whether it spread to the WUI. The likelihood of burning the WUI was analysed using binomial regression. Weather and distance interacted such that under mild weather conditions, the model predicted only a 5% chance that a fire starting >2.5 km from the interface would reach it, whereas when the conditions are extreme the predicted chance remained above 30% even at distances >10 km. Fires were more likely to spread to the WUI if the wind was from the west and in the western side of the region. We examined whether the management responses to wildfires are commensurate with risk by comparing the distribution of distance to the WUI of wildfires with roads and prescribed fires. Prescribed fires and roads were concentrated nearer to the WUI than wildfires as a whole, but further away than wildfires that burnt the WUI under extreme weather conditions (high risk fires). Overall, 79% of these high risk fires started within 2 km of the WUI, so there is some argument for concentrating more management effort near the WUI. By substituting climate change scenario weather into the statistical model, we predicted a small increase in the risk of fires spreading to the WUI, but the increase will be greater under extreme weather. This approach has a variety of uses, including mapping fire risk and improving the ability to match fire management responses to the threat from each fire. They also provide a baseline from which a cost-benefit analysis of complementary fire management strategies can be conducted.
Westerling, A. L.; Das, T.; Lubetkin, K.; Romme, W.; Ryan, M. G.; Smithwick, E. A.; Turner, M.
Western US Forest managers face more wildfires than ever before, and it is increasingly imperative to anticipate the consequences of this trend. Large fires in the northern Rocky Mountains have increased in association with warmer temperatures, earlier snowmelt, and longer fire seasons (1), and this trend is likely to continue with global warming (2). Increased wildfire occurrence is already a concern shared by managers from many federal land-management agencies (3). However, new analyses for the western US suggest that future climate could diverge even more rapidly from past climate than previously suggested. Current model projections suggest end-of-century hydroclimatic conditions like those of 1988 (the year of the well-known Yellowstone Fires) may represent close to the average year rather than an extreme year. The consequences of a shift of this magnitude for the fire regime, post-fire succession and carbon (C) balance of western forest ecosystems are well beyond what scientists have explored to date, and may fundamentally change the potential of western forests to sequester atmospheric C. We link hydroclimatic extremes (spring and summer temperature and cumulative water-year moisture deficit) to extreme fire years in northern Rockies forests, using large forest fire histories and 1/8-degree gridded historical hydrologic simulations (1950 - 2005) (4) forced with historical gridded temperature and precipitation (5). The frequency of extremes in hydroclimate associated with historic severe fire years in the northern Rocky Mountains is compared to those projected under a range of climate change projections, using global climate model runs for the A2 and B1 emissions pathways for three global climate models (NCAR PCM1, GFDL CM2.1, CNRM CM3). Coarse-scale climatic variables are downscaled to a 1/8 degree grid and used to force hydrologic simulations (6, 7). We will present preliminary results using these hydrologic simulations to model spatially explicit annual
Pilat, Joseph F.; Budlong-Sylvester, K.W.
Following the 1998 nuclear tests in South Asia and later reinforced by revelations about North Korean and Iraqi nuclear activities, there has been growing concern about increasing proliferation dangers. At the same time, the prospects of radiological/nuclear terrorism are seen to be rising - since 9/11, concern over a proliferation/terrorism nexus has never been higher. In the face of this growing danger, there are urgent calls for stronger measures to strengthen the current international nuclear nonproliferation regime, including recommendations to place civilian processing of weapon-useable material under multinational control. As well, there are calls for entirely new tools, including military options. As proliferation and terrorism concerns grow, the regime is under pressure and there is a temptation to consider fundamental changes to the regime. In this context, this paper will address the following: Do we need to change the regime centered on the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)? What improvements could ensure it will be the foundation for the proliferation resistance and physical protection needed if nuclear power grows? What will make it a viable centerpiece of future nonproliferation and counterterrorism approaches?
de Groot, W. J.; Flannigan, M. D.; Cantin, A.
The effects of future fire regimes altered by climate change, and fire management in adaptation to climate change were studied in the boreal forest region of western Canada. Present (1975-90) and future (2080-2100) fire regimes were simulated for several National Parks using data from the Canadian (CGCM1) and Hadley (HadCM3) Global Climate Models (GCM) in separate simulation scenarios. The long-term effects of the different fire regimes on forests were simulated using a stand-level, boreal fire effects model (BORFIRE). Changes in forest composition and biomass storage due to future altered fire regimes were determined by comparing current and future simulation results. This was used to assess the ecological impact of altered fire regimes on boreal forests, and the future role of these forests as carbon sinks or sources. Additional future simulations were run using adapted fire management strategies, including increased fire suppression and the use of prescribed fire to meet fire cycle objectives. Future forest composition, carbon storage and emissions under current and adapted fire management strategies were also compared to determine the impact of various future fire management options. Both of the GCM's showed more severe burning conditions under future fire regimes. This includes fires with higher intensity, greater depth of burn, greater total fuel consumption and shorter fire cycles (or higher rates of annual area burned). The Canadian GCM indicated burning conditions more severe than the Hadley GCM. Shorter fire cycles of future fire regimes generally favoured aspen, birch, and jack pine because it provided more frequent regeneration opportunity for these pioneer species. Black spruce was only minimally influenced by future fire regimes, although white spruce declined sharply. Maintaining representation of pure and mixed white spruce ecosystems in natural areas will be a concern under future fire regimes. Active fire suppression is required in these areas. In
Giesler, Reiner; Clemmensen, Karina E; Wardle, David A; Klaminder, Jonatan; Bindler, Richard
Alterations in fire activity due to climate change and fire suppression may have profound effects on the balance between storage and release of carbon (C) and associated volatile elements. Stored soil mercury (Hg) is known to volatilize due to wildfires and this could substantially affect the land-air exchange of Hg; conversely the absence of fires and human disturbance may increase the time period over which Hg is sequestered. Here we show for a wildfire chronosequence spanning over more than 5000 years in boreal forest in northern Sweden that belowground inventories of total Hg are strongly related to soil humus C accumulation (R 2 = 0.94, p millennial time scales in the prolonged absence of fire.
The Cache La Poudre (CLP) watershed in Northern Colorado was impacted by the High Park fire, which burned from June 9th through July 1st of 2012. The CLP watershed serves as a source of drinking water for three water districts in Northern Colorado, including the City of Fort Collins. Sampling was conducted during four different storm events immediately after the fire was extinguished. The sampling was expanded through spring and summer 2013 in order to capture the flush of debris from the wildfire into the CLP River. Samples were also collected from an unburned control site for comparison. Surface water samples were analyzed for parameters including nutrients, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration and dissolved organic matter (DOM) characterization. In addition, bench scale treatment analyses were conducted to better understand the impacts of the wildfire on treatment processes for drinking water utilities. Lastly, leaching of stream bank sediments was conducted to determine the potential longer term inputs of burned material to the stream water. The overarching goals of the sampling campaign were to: 1) Evaluate the impact that wildfires have on the properties of DOM, specifically with respect to DBP formation and speciation (TTHM, HAA5, HAN, NDMA); 2) Establish the condition under which the source water could be effectively treated (using coagulation) to remove DBP precursors; 3) Evaluate the use of fluorescence spectroscopy as a surrogate for the concentration and reactivity of DOM in the CLP watershed; and 4) Assess the quantity and quality of DOM leached from streambed sediments. Preliminary results showed elevated DOC levels during the storm events and at wildfire impacted sites compared to the unburned site following the fire. DBP yields were higher for the four storm events following the fire when compared to yields for the control site located upstream of the burn area, and also when compared to data from a previous DBP study conducted on similar
Vant-Hull, Brian; Thompson, Tollisha; Koshak, William
This work examines how to adjust the definition of "dry lightning" in order to optimize the correlation between dry lightning flash count and the climatology of large (>400 km2) lightning-ignited wildfires over the contiguous United States (CONUS). The National Lightning Detection Network™ and National Centers for Environmental Prediction Stage IV radar-based, gauge-adjusted precipitation data are used to form climatic data sets. For a 13 year analysis period over CONUS, a correlation of 0.88 is found between annual totals of wildfires and dry lightning. This optimal correlation is found by defining dry lightning as follows: on a 0.1° hourly grid, a precipitation threshold of no more than 0.3 mm may accumulate during any hour over a period of 3-4 days preceding the flash. Regional optimized definitions vary. When annual totals are analyzed as done here, no clear advantage is found by weighting positive polarity cloud-to-ground (+CG) lightning differently than -CG lightning. The high variability of dry lightning relative to the precipitation and lightning from which it is derived suggests it would be an independent and useful climate indicator.
G. G. Moisen; J. A. Blackard; M. Finco
Recent emphasis has been placed on estimating amount and characteristics of forests affected by wildfire in the Interior West. Data collected by FIA is intended for estimation over large geographic areas and is too sparse to construct sufficiently precise estimates within burn perimeters. This paper illustrates how recently built MODISbased maps of forest/nonforest and...
Full Text Available Carbon nanotubes (CNTs have a broad range of applications and are generally considered human-engineered nanomaterials. However, carbon nanostructures have been found in ice cores and oil wells, suggesting that nature may provide appropriate conditions for CNT synthesis. During forest wildfires, materials such as turpentine and conifer tissues containing iron under high temperatures may create chemical conditions favorable for CNT generation, similar to those in synthetic methods. Here, we show evidence of naturally occurring multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs produced from Pinus oocarpa and Pinus pseudostrobus, following a forest wildfire. The MWCNTs showed an average of 10 walls, with internal diameters of ∼2.5 nm and outer diameters of ∼14.5 nm. To verify whether MWCNT generation during forest wildfires has a biological effect on some characteristic plant species of these ecosystems, germination and development of seedlings were conducted. Results show that the utilization of comparable synthetic MWCNTs increased seed germination rates and the development of Lupinus elegans and Eysenhardtia polystachya, two plants species found in the burned forest ecosystem. The finding provides evidence that supports the generation and possible ecological functions of MWCNTs in nature.
Proshutinsky, Andrey; Dukhovskoy, Dmitry; Timmermans, Mary-Louise; Krishfield, Richard; Bamber, Jonathan L
Between 1948 and 1996, mean annual environmental parameters in the Arctic experienced a well-pronounced decadal variability with two basic circulation patterns: cyclonic and anticyclonic alternating at 5 to 7 year intervals. During cyclonic regimes, low sea-level atmospheric pressure (SLP) dominated over the Arctic Ocean driving sea ice and the upper ocean counterclockwise; the Arctic atmosphere was relatively warm and humid, and freshwater flux from the Arctic Ocean towards the subarctic seas was intensified. By contrast, during anticylonic circulation regimes, high SLP dominated driving sea ice and the upper ocean clockwise. Meanwhile, the atmosphere was cold and dry and the freshwater flux from the Arctic to the subarctic seas was reduced. Since 1997, however, the Arctic system has been under the influence of an anticyclonic circulation regime (17 years) with a set of environmental parameters that are atypical for this regime. We discuss a hypothesis explaining the causes and mechanisms regulating the intensity and duration of Arctic circulation regimes, and speculate how changes in freshwater fluxes from the Arctic Ocean and Greenland impact environmental conditions and interrupt their decadal variability. © 2015 The Authors.
Stephen D. Krasner
Full Text Available Os regimes internacionais são definidos como princípios, normas, regras e procedimentos de tomada de decisões ao redor dos quais as expectativas dos atores convergem em uma dada área-tema. Como ponto de partida, os regimes são conceituados como variáveis intervenientes, estando entre fatores causais básicos e os resultados e comportamentos relacionados. Há três visões a respeito da importância dos regimes: as orientações estruturais convencionais desvalorizam os regimes como sendo, na melhor das hipóteses, ineficazes; as orientações grocianas vêem os regimes como componentes íntimos do sistema internacional; as perspectivas estruturalistas modificadas vêem os regimes como significativos somente em certas condições restritas. Para os argumentos grociano e estruturalista modificado - que concordam com a visão de que os regimes podem influenciar resultados e comportamentos - , o desenvolvimento de regimes é visto como uma função de cinco variáveis causais básicas: auto-interesse egoísta; poder político; normas e princípios difusos; usos e costumes; conhecimento.
Full Text Available Despite the attention given to the ecology of butterflies, little is known about their community response to wildfires in the Mediterranean region. Here, we evaluated the butterfly assemblage two years after a severe, 13,000 ha wildfire in Catalonia (NE Spain in relation to the surrounding unburned habitat. Using visual transect censuses we assessed community parameters such as abundance, diversity, species richness and equitability in burned and unburned areas. Correspondence analysis was used to analyse specific composition and relative abundance of species in the community. The influence of environmental variables on the abundance of some common species was analysed using generalized linear mixed models, taking spatial effects into account. No significant differences were found between areas for any of the community parameters, and no dominance was detected in the burned area. The structure of the vegetation and the geographical distribution of transects influenced the ordination of species and transects on the correspondence analysis plot. Generalized linear mixed models (GLMM results underscored the role of nectar availability, fire and vegetation structure on the abundance of most species studied.
Full Text Available Wildfires are becoming increasingly dominant in tropical landscapes due to reinforcing feedbacks between land cover change and more severe dry conditions. This study focused on the Bolivian Chiquitania, a region located at the southern edge of Amazonia. The extensive, unique and well-conserved tropical dry forest in this region is susceptible to wildfires due to a marked seasonality. We used a novel approach to assess fire risk at the regional level driven by different development trajectories interacting with changing climatic conditions. Possible future risk scenarios were simulated using maximum entropy modelling with presence-only data, combining land cover, anthropogenic and climatic variables. We found that important determinants of fire risk in the region are distance to roads, recent deforestation and density of human settlements. Severely dry conditions alone increased the area of high fire risk by 69%, affecting all categories of land use and land cover. Interactions between extreme dry conditions and rapid frontier expansion further increased fire risk, resulting in potential biomass loss of 2.44±0.8 Tg in high risk area, about 1.8 times higher than the estimates for the 2010 drought. These interactions showed particularly high fire risk in land used for 'extensive cattle ranching', 'agro-silvopastoral use' and 'intensive cattle ranching and agriculture'. These findings have serious implications for subsistence activities and the economy in the Chiquitania, which greatly depend on the forestry, agriculture and livestock sectors. Results are particularly concerning if considering the current development policies promoting frontier expansion. Departmental protected areas inhibited wildfires when strategically established in areas of high risk, even under drought conditions. However, further research is needed to assess their effectiveness accounting for more specific contextual factors. This novel and simple modelling approach can
Keith, Heather; Lindenmayer, David B.; Mackey, Brendan G.; Blair, David; Carter, Lauren; McBurney, Lachlan; Okada, Sachiko; Konishi-Nagano, Tomoko
Carbon stock change due to forest management and disturbance must be accounted for in UNFCCC national inventory reports and for signatories to the Kyoto Protocol. Impacts of disturbance on greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories are important for many countries with large forest estates prone to wildfires. Our objective was to measure changes in carbon stocks due to short-term combustion and to simulate longer-term carbon stock dynamics resulting from redistribution among biomass components following wildfire. We studied the impacts of a wildfire in 2009 that burnt temperate forest of tall, wet eucalypts in south-eastern Australia. Biomass combusted ranged from 40 to 58 tC ha−1, which represented 6–7% and 9–14% in low- and high-severity fire, respectively, of the pre-fire total biomass carbon stock. Pre-fire total stock ranged from 400 to 1040 tC ha−1 depending on forest age and disturbance history. An estimated 3.9 TgC was emitted from the 2009 fire within the forest region, representing 8.5% of total biomass carbon stock across the landscape. Carbon losses from combustion were large over hours to days during the wildfire, but from an ecosystem dynamics perspective, the proportion of total carbon stock combusted was relatively small. Furthermore, more than half the stock losses from combustion were derived from biomass components with short lifetimes. Most biomass remained on-site, although redistributed from living to dead components. Decomposition of these components and new regeneration constituted the greatest changes in carbon stocks over ensuing decades. A critical issue for carbon accounting policy arises because the timeframes of ecological processes of carbon stock change are longer than the periods for reporting GHG inventories for national emissions reductions targets. Carbon accounts should be comprehensive of all stock changes, but reporting against targets should be based on human-induced changes in carbon stocks to incentivise mitigation activities
Pierce, J. R.; Val Martin, M.; Ford, B.; Zelasky, S.; Heald, C. L.; Li, F.; Lawrence, D. M.; Fischer, E. V.
Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from landscape fires has been shown to adversely affect visibility, air quality and and health across the US. Fire activity is strongly related to climate and human activities. Predictions based on climate scenarios and future land cover projections that consider socioeconomic development suggest that fire activity will rise dramatically over the next decades. As PM2.5 is associated with increased mortality and morbidity rates, increases in emissions from landscape fires may alter the health burden on the US population. Here we present an analysis of the changes in future wildfire activity and consequences for PM2.5 and health over the US from 2000 to 2100. We employ the global Community Earth System Model (CESM) with the IPCC RCP projections. Within CESM, we use a process-based global fire parameterization to project future climate-driven and human-caused fire emissions. From these simulations, we determine the current and future impact on PM2.5 concentrations and visibility for different regions of the US, and we also calculate the mortality attributable to PM2.5 and wildfire-specific PM2.5 using existing concentration-response functions. Results show that although total PM2.5 concentrations in the US are projected to be similar in 2100 as in 2000, the dominant source of PM2.5 will change. Under the RCP8.5 climate projection and SSP3 population projection, non-fire emissions (mostly anthropogenic) are projected to decrease, but PM2.5 from CONUS and non-US wildfires is projected to increase from approximately 20% of all PM2.5 in 2000 to 80% of all PM2.5 in 2100. Furthermore, although the US population is expected to decline between 2000 and 2100, the mortality attributable to wildfire smoke is expected to increase from 25,000 deaths per year in 2000 to 75,000 deaths per year in 2100.
Volker C. Radeloff; David P. Helmers; H. Anu Kramer; Miranda H. Mockrin; Patricia M. Alexandre; Avi Bar-Massada; Van Butsic; Todd J. Hawbaker; Sebastián Martinuzzi; Alexandra D. Syphard; Susan I. Stewart
The wildland-urban interface (WUI) is the area where houses and wildland vegetation meet or intermingle, and where wildfire problems are most pronounced. Here we report that the WUI in the United States grew rapidly from 1990 to 2010 in terms of both number of new houses (from 30.8 to 43.4 million; 41% growth) and land area (from 581,000 to 770,000 km2...
Due to global warming, parts of the United States are becoming drier than ever before. In 2015, we surpassed 9 million acres burned by wildfires nationally (Rice 2015). Wildfires are most common in the Western United States due to drought, and the fact that the summer months are drier than other areas such as the East Coast, so there is a higher risk for wildland fires (Donegan 2016). These high-growth forests that are more frequently burned by wildfires each year are located near mountain ranges on the west side of the United States. They are important to tourism, contain many endangered species, and need to maintain the natural cycle of fire and regrowth for the continued success of the native plant life. This project investigated the effect of burnt soil on Sequoiadendron giganteum trees. Three were grown in burnt potting soil that had been roasted over a grill for 45 minutes (which is the average destructive fire time), and the other three were the control group in unburned potting soil. We assessed growth by measuring height, color, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), and CO2 flux to evaluate the health of the trees in the two soil conditions. We noted that after two weeks the trunks of the trees growing in burnt soil began to brown in color, and they lost leaves. Over the course of the experiment, the trees growing in burnt soil had reduced levels of photosynthesis as compared to the unburned soil (as measured by the net change in CO2 concentration in a sealed chamber over the course of fifteen minutes intervals). On average, the trees growing in burnt soil had flux rates that were 19.59 ppm CO2 /min. more than those growing in unburned soil. In the dark reactions, the burnt soil flux was 54.5 ppm CO2/min., while the unburned soil averaged 40.5 ppm CO2/min. Our results help quantify the impact of fire on delicate ecosystems that are experiencing an increase in fire activity caused by global warming.
Gaetani, Francesco; Baptiste Filippi, Jean; Simeoni, Albert; D'Andrea, Mirko
Haines Index (HI) was developed by USDA Forest Service to measure the atmosphere's contribution to the growth potential of a wildfire. The Haines Index combines two atmospheric factors that are known to have an effect on wildfires: Stability and Dryness. As operational tools, HI proved its ability to predict plume dominated high intensity wildfires. However, since HI does not take into account the fuel continuity, composition and moisture conditions and the effects of wind and topography on fire behaviour, its use as forecasting tool should be carefully considered. In this work we propose the use of HI, predicted from HR Limited Area Model forecasts, coupled with a Fire Weather model (i.e., RISICO system) fully operational in Italy since 2003. RISICO is based on dynamic models able to represent in space and in time the effects that environment and vegetal physiology have on fuels and, in turn, on the potential behaviour of wildfires. The system automatically acquires from remote databases a thorough data-set of input information both of in situ and spatial nature. Meteorological observations, radar data, Limited Area Model weather forecasts, EO data, and fuel data are managed by a Unified Interface able to process a wide set of different data. Specific semi-physical models are used in the system to simulate the dynamics of the fuels (load and moisture contents of dead and live fuel) and the potential fire behaviour (rate of spread and linear intensity). A preliminary validation of this approach will be provided with reference to Sardinia and Corsica Islands, two major islands of the Mediterranean See frequently affected by extreme plume dominated wildfires. A time series of about 3000 wildfires burnt in Sardinia and Corsica in 2007 and 2008 will be used to evaluate the capability of HI coupled with the outputs of the Fire Weat