Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Yufang Jin; Michael L. Goulden; Nicolas Faivre; Sander Veraverbeke; Fengpeng Sun; Alex Hall; Michael S. Hand; Simon Hook; James T. Randerson
    Date: 2015
    Source: Environmental Research Letters. 10: 094005.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.0 MB)

    Description

    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.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to rmrspubrequest@fs.fed.us 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.

    Citation

    Jin, Yufang; Goulden, Michael L.; Faivre, Nicolas; Veraverbeke, Sander; Sun, Fengpeng; Hall, Alex; Hand, Michael S.; Hook, Simon; Randerson, James T. 2015. Identification of two distinct fire regimes in Southern California: implications for economic impact and future change. Environmental Research Letters. 10: 094005.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    fire regime, economic impact, fuel management, climate change, Santa Ana winds

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/50302