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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Bruno A. Aparício; Jose M. C. Pereira; Francisco C. Santos; Chiara Bruni; Ana C.L. Sá
Publication Date: 2022

The recent extreme wildfire seasons have overwhelmed the fire-suppression capabilities of national authorities, evidencing the need for a paradigm shift in wildfire management. Wildfire spread and behaviour simulations provide relevant information for the assessment of fire hazards and for guiding decision makers in implementing preventive fuel-reduction strategies. In this study, we introduce and combined a new graph-based connectivity index with fire-line intensity to quantify the influence of spatial arrangement of fuels on wildfire hazards. The analysis uses a new connectivity index complemented by well-established graph-based metrics, namely the centrality and size of the largest component. The developed approach was applied to Serra de Monchique, in Southwestern Portugal. Specifically, we used the connectivity metrics to: (i) quantify the effect of fire weather scenarios on fire hazard; and (ii) evaluate the potential effectiveness of local fuel-break networks in decreasing fuel connectivity. Our results show that the combination of new connectivity index and graph-based metrics allow the location of high wildfire and fuel connectivity areas (i.e., fire hubs); and anticipate the locations where wildfire suppression may be compromised under specific fire–weather conditions. We identified the most important fuel-break segments in the north and west of Serra Monchique, particularly in areas covered by eucalyptus plantations and oak woodlands. These highlighted fuel-break segments are the same regardless of the wind directions and fire–weather scenarios considered. We further show that fuel connectivity is sensitive to the planned fuel-reduction strategy and that active fuel management may decrease landscape connectivity during extreme weather conditions to levels of fire intensity similar to those of non-extreme fire–weather scenarios without management. We anticipate that these network metrics will be helpful to both land planners and wildfire researchers seeking to assess different fuel-reduction strategies in fire-prone regions.

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Citation: Aparício, Bruno A.; Pereira, José M.C.; Santos, Francisco C.; Bruni, Chiara; Sá, Ana C.L. 2022. Combining wildfire behaviour simulations and connectivity metrics to support wildfire management. Environmental Sciences Proceedings 17(1):66.

Cataloging Information

  • decision making
  • fire connectivity
  • fire spread
  • Portugal
  • spatial indices
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Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 67445