Skip to Main Content
Climate and very large wildland fires in the contiguous western USAAuthor(s): E. Natasha Stavros; John Abatzoglou; Narasimhan K. Larkin; Donald McKenzie; E. Ashley Steel
Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire. 23(7): 899-914. 16 p.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
View PDF (1.38 MB)
DescriptionVery large wildfires can cause significant economic and environmental damage, including destruction of homes, adverse air quality, firefighting costs and even loss of life. We examine how climate is associated with very large wildland fires (VLWFs >=50 000 acres, or ~20234 ha) in the western contiguous USA. We used composite records of climate and fire to investigate the spatial and temporal variability of VLWF–climatic relationships. Results showed quantifiable fire weather leading up and up to 3 weeks post VLWF discovery, thus providing predictors of the probability that VLWF occurrence in a given week. Models were created for eight National Interagency Fire Center Geographic Area Coordination Centers (GACCs). Accuracy was good (AUC >.80) for all models, but significant fire weather predictors of VLWFs vary by GACC, suggesting that broad-scale ecological mechanisms associated with wildfires also vary across regions. These mechanisms are very similar to those found by previous analyses of annual area burned, but this analysis provides a means for anticipating VLWFs specifically and thereby the timing of substantial area burned within a given year, thus providing a quantifiable justification for proactive fire management practices to mitigate the risk and associated damage of VLWFs.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationStavros, E. Natasha; Abatzoglou, John; Larkin, Narasimhan K.; McKenzie, Donald; Steel, E. Ashley 2014. Climate and very large wildland fires in the contiguous western USA. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 23(7): 899-914.
KeywordsAUC, GACC, logistic regression, niche space, precision, rare events, recall, wildland fire
- Regional projections of the likelihood of very large wildland fires under a changing climate in the contiguous Western United States
- Regional likelihood of very large wildfires over the 21st century across the western United States: Motivation to study individual events like the Rim Fire, a unique opportunity with unprecedented remote sensing data
- Fuel treatments and landform modify landscape patterns of burn severity in an extreme fire event
XML: View XML