Document


Title

Climate change and forest fires
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Michael D. Flannigan; Brian J. Stocks; B. Michael Wotton
Publication Year: 2000

Cataloging Information

Keyword(s):
  • Canada
  • carbon dioxide
  • climate change
  • climatology
  • distribution
  • disturbance
  • fire danger rating
  • fire frequency
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • fire size
  • forest management
  • GCMs - general circulation models
  • hardwood forest
  • lightning caused fires
  • pine forests
  • rate of spread
  • season of fire
  • wildfires
Partner Site(s):
  • Southwest FireCLIME
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 8, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 20663
Tall Timbers Record Number: 15688
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Annotated Bibliography

This document is part of the Southwest FireCLIME Annotated Bibliography, which includes published research related to the interactions between climate change, wildfire, and subsequent ecosystem effects in the southwestern U.S. The publications contained in the Bibliography have each been summarized to distill the outcomes as they pertain to fire and climate. Go to this document's record in the Southwest FireCLIME Annotated Bibliography.

Description

This paper addresses the impacts of climate change on forest fires and describes how this, in turn, will impact on the forests of the United States. In addition to reviewing existing studies on climate change and forest fires we have used two transient general circulation models (GCMs), namely the Hadley Centre and the Canadian GCMs, to estimate fire season severity in the middle of the next century. Ratios of 2xCO2 seasonal severity rating (SSR) over present day SSR were calculated for the means and maximums for North America. The results suggest that the SSR will increase by 10-50% over most of North America; although, there are regions of little change or where the SSR may decrease by the middle of the next century. Increased SSRs should translate into increased forest fire activity. Thus, forest fires could be viewed as an agent of change for US forests as the fire regime will respond rapidly to climate warming. This change in the fire regime has the potential to overshadow the direct effects of climate change on species distribution and migration.

Online Link(s):
Citation:
Flannigan, Michael D.; Stocks, Brian J.; Wotton, B. Michael. 2000. Climate change and forest fires. Science of The Total Environment 262(3):221-229.