Interactions between antecedent climate and wildfire variability across south-eastern Arizona
The authors studied the relationship between antecedent climate conditions (temperature, precipitation, and PDSI) at specific lags and wildfire activity from low to high elevation.
The authors found that across the gradient, total area burned is significantly correlated to moisture-related (except actual precipitation) factors in the year(s) previous to the fire season. The authors suggest that this is related to the increase in fine fuel production. The lags between high and low elevation sites, however, differed. Low elevation sites were associated with wet antecedent conditions up until the fire season, whereas high elevation sites were associated with wet condition up to 3 years prior. However, the authors did not find any correlations between total precipitation and fire at any yearly or seasonal lags. They also found that drought was not necessarily associated with increased fire activity and that in certain vegetation types, fuels dry sufficiently to burn under natural conditions.