Full Citation: Haire, Sandra L.; McGarigal, Kevin. 2009. Changes in fire severity across gradients of climate, fire size, and topography: a landscape ecological perspective. Fire Ecology 5(2):86-103.
External Identifier(s): 10.4996/fireecology.0502086 Digital Object Identifier
Location: Arizona and New Mexico, U.S.
Ecosystem types: Gradient
Southwest FireCLIME Keywords: None
FRAMES Keywords: fire severity, ponderosa pine, Arizona, climate change, New Mexico, Generalized Additive Models, spatial pattern metrics, topographic gradients

Changes in fire severity across gradients of climate, fire size, and topography: a landscape ecological perspective

Sandra L. Haire, Kevin McGarigal


Summary - what did the authors do and why?

The authors examined the effects of climate, specifically drought, and local topography on fire severity across a gradient of fire sizes and vegetation types.


Publication findings:

The authors found that most, but not all, large fires occurred during the La Niña phase of ENSO. For the Cerro Grande fire, which occurred during an extreme La Niña event, topography had a stronger influence on reducing severity in some areas than the regional effects of climate. Conversely, on several of the fires, topography conducive to fire spread did not produce increased severity, and temperature and wind had a stronger influence on fire effects.

Climate and Fire Linkages

The authors found that most, but not all, large fires occurred during the La Niña phase of ENSO. For the Cerro Grande fire, which occurred during an extreme La Niña event, topography had a stronger influence on reducing severity in some areas than the regional effects of climate.

For the Cerro Grande fire, which occurred during an extreme La Niña event, topography had a stronger influence on reducing severity in some areas than the regional effects of climate. Conversely, on several of the fires, topography conducive to fire spread did not produce increased severity, and temperature and wind had a stronger influence on fire effects.