Precipitation-driven decrease in wildfires in British Columbia
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): A. Meyn; S. Schmidtlein; S. W. Taylor; M. P. Girardin; K. Thonicke; W. Cramer
Publication Year: 2013

Cataloging Information

  • Aridity Index
  • British Columbia
  • Canada
  • climate change
  • droughts
  • fire frequency
  • fire management
  • forest management
  • precipitation
  • regional climate change
  • Self-Calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index
  • summer drought
  • summer precipitation
  • summer temperature
  • temperature
  • trends
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 51899
Tall Timbers Record Number: 28891
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Available
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, 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.


Trends of summer precipitation and summer temperature and their influence on trends in summer drought and area burned in British Columbia (BC) were investigated for the period 1920-2000. The complexity imposed by topography was taken into account by incorporating high spatial resolution climate and fire data. Considerable regional variation in trends and in climate-fire relationships was observed. A weak but significant increase in summer temperature was detected in northeastern and coastal BC, whereas summer precipitation increased significantly in all regions-by up to 45.9 %. A significant decrease in province-wide area burned and at the level of sub-units was strongly related to increasing precipitation, more so than to changing temperature or drought severity. A stronger dependence of area burned on precipitation, a variable difficult to predict, implies that projected changes in future area burned in this region may yield higher uncertainties than in regions where temperature is predominantly the limiting factor for fire activity. We argue that analyses of fire-climate relationships must be undertaken at a sufficiently high resolution such that spatial variability in limiting factors on area burned like precipitation, temperature, and drought is captured within units. © Springer-Verlag 2012.

Meyn, A., S. Schmidtlein, S. W. Taylor, M. P. Girardin, K. Thonicke, and W. Cramer. 2013. Precipitation-driven decrease in wildfires in British Columbia. Regional Environmental Change, v. 13, no. 1, p. 165-177. 10.1007/s10113-012-0319-0.