Modeling large fire frequency and burned area in Canadian terrestrial ecosystems with Poisson models
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Y. Y. Jiang; Q. L. Zhuang; D. Mandallaz
Publication Year: 2012

Cataloging Information

  • boreal forests
  • Canada
  • carbon
  • compound Poisson model
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • ecozone
  • fire frequency
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • fire size
  • forest management
  • large fire occurrence
  • large fires
  • nutrient cycling
  • Poisson model
  • statistical analysis
  • threshold probability
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: December 3, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 51061
Tall Timbers Record Number: 27830
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Not in 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.


Large wildland fires are major disturbances that strongly influence the carbon cycling and vegetation dynamics of Canadian boreal ecosystems. Although large wildland fires have recently received much scrutiny in scientific study, it is still a challenge for researchers to predict large fire frequency and burned area. Here, we use monthly climate and elevation data to quantify the frequency of large fires using a Poisson model, and we calculate the probability of burned area exceeding a certain size using a compound Poisson process. We find that the Poisson model simulates large fire occurrence well during the fire season (May through August) using monthly climate, and the threshold probability calculated by the compound Poisson model agrees well with historical records. Threshold probabilities are significantly different among different Canadian ecozones, with the Boreal Shield ecozone always showing the highest probability. The fire prediction model described in this study and the derived information will facilitate future quantification of fire risks and help improve fire management in the region. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012.

Jiang, Y. Y., Q. L. Zhuang, and D. Mandallaz. 2012. Modeling large fire frequency and burned area in Canadian terrestrial ecosystems with Poisson models. Environmental Modeling & Assessment, v. 17, no. 5, p. 483-493. 10.1007/s10666-012-9307-s.