A spatial evaluation of global wildfire-water risks to human and natural systems
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): F. N. Robinne; K. D. Bladon; C. Miller; M. A. Parisien; J. Mathieu; M. D. Flannigan
Publication Year: 2018

Cataloging Information

  • climate change
  • conceptual framework
  • DPSIR - Driving Forces Pressures State Impacts Response Framework
  • ecosystem services
  • emerging risk
  • forest fires
  • national park
  • natural disaster
  • population growth
  • problem structuring method
  • safe operating space
  • vulnerability
  • water security
  • watersheds
  • wildfires
  • wildland fire
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 55712
Tall Timbers Record Number: 33786
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Available
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use

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.


The large mediatic coverage of recent massive wildfires across the world has emphasized the vulnerability of freshwater resources. The extensive hydrogeomorphic effects from a wildfire can impair the ability of watersheds to provide safe drinking water to downstream communities and high-quality water to maintain riverine ecosystem health. Safeguarding water use for human activities and ecosystems is required for sustainable development; however, no global assessment of wildfire impacts on water supply is currently available. Here, we provide the first global evaluation of wildfire risks to water security, in the form of a spatially explicit index. We adapted the Driving forces-Pressure-State-Impact-Response risk analysis framework to select a comprehensive set of indicators of fire activity and water availability, which we then aggregated to a single index of wildfire-water risk using a simple additive weighted model. Our results show that water security in many regions of the world is potentially vulnerable, regardless of socio-economic status. However, in developing countries, a critical component of the risk is the lack of socio-economic capability to respond to disasters. Our work highlights the importance of addressing wildfire-induced risks in the development of water security policies; the geographic differences in the components of the overall risk could help adapting those policies to different regional contexts. Crown Copyright © 2017 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Online Link(s):
Robinne, F. N., K. D. Bladon, C. Miller, M. A. Parisien, J. Mathieu, and M. D. Flannigan. 2018. A spatial evaluation of global wildfire-water risks to human and natural systems. Science of the Total Environment, v. 610, p. 1193-1206. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.08.112.