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Predicting the effect of climate change on wildfire behavior and initial attack success

Author(s):

J. Keith Gilless
William J. Riley
Tadashi J. Moody
Clara Simon de Blas
Katharine Hayhoe
Max Mortiz
Scott Stephens
Margaret Torn

Year:

2008

Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Pacific Northwest Research Station

Source:

Climatic Change. 87(Supplement 1): S251-S264

Description

This study focused on how climate change-induced effects on weather will translate into changes in wildland fire severity and outcomes in California, particularly on the effectiveness of initial attack at limiting the number of fires that escape initial attack. The results indicate that subtle shifts in fire behavior of the sort that might be induced by the climate changes anticipated for the next century are of sufficient magnitude to generate an appreciable increase in the number of fires that escape initial attack. Such escapes are of considerable importance in wildland fire protection planning given the high cost to society of a catastrophic escape like those experienced in recent decades in the Berkeley-Oakland, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Los Angele areas. However at least for the three study areas considered, it would appear that relatively modest augmentation to existing firefighting resource might be sufficient to compensate for climate-induced change in wildland fire outcomes.

Citation

Fried, Jeremy S.; Gilless, J. Keith; Riley, William J.; Moody, Tadashi J.; de Blas, Clara Simon; Hayhoe, Katharine; Mortiz, Max; Stephens, Scott; Torn, Margaret. 2008. Predicting the effect of climate change on wildfire behavior and initial attack success. Climatic Change. 87(Supplement 1): S251-S264

Publication Notes

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/33147