Full Citation: Brooks, Matthew L.; Matchett, J.R. 2006. Spatial and temporal patterns of wildfires in the Mojave desert, 1980-2004. Journal of Arid Environments 67(Supplement):148-164.
External Identifier(s): 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2006.09.027 Digital Object Identifier
Location: Mojave Desert, U.S.
Ecosystem types: Desert;(Low elevation shrubland; Middle elevation shrubland; High elevation woodland; Desert montane)
Southwest FireCLIME Keywords: None
FRAMES Keywords: Achnatherum, Bromus rubens, Bromus tectorum, Coleogyne, Coleogyne ramosissima, coniferous forests, cover, deserts, disturbance, ecosystem dynamics, elevation, fire frequency, fire intensity, fire management, fire regimes, fire size, fuel loading, Gopherus agassizii, grasses, human caused fires, invasive species, Juniperus osteosperma, Larrea tridentata, lightning caused fires, montane forests, Pinus longaeva, Pinus monophylla, Pinus ponderosa, precipitation, Purshia, range management, Schismus arabicus, Schismus barbatus, season of fire, shrublands, wildfires, woody fuels, Yucca, grass, fire cycle, invasive, Mojave Desert, Schismus spp., grass-fire cycle

Spatial and temporal patterns of wildfires in the Mojave Desert, 1980-2004

Matthew L. Brooks, John R. Matchett


Summary - what did the authors do and why?

This article described the spatial and temporal patterns and potential trends of wildfire in the Mojave Desert from 1980 to 2004.


Publication findings:

Fire size in the lower and middle elevations are related to rainfall in the season previous to the fire season, but at higher elevations, this pattern does not hold. For the middle elevation and, less so, the lower elevations of the Mojave desert, the increase in area and continuity of non-native grasses after wet years increased the average size of fires during those years. However, there was no significant increasing trend in annual area burned in the Mojave desert despite earlier literature of more limited time periods finding an increasing trend.

Climate and Fire Linkages

Fire size in the lower and middle elevations are related to rainfall in the season previous to the fire season, but at higher elevations, this pattern does not hold.

Fire and Ecosystem Effects Linkages

For the middle elevation and, less so, the lower elevations of the Mojave desert, the increase in area and continuity of non-native grasses after wet years increased the average size of fires during those years. However, there was no significant increasing trend in annual area burned in the Mojave desert despite earlier literature of more limited time periods finding an increasing trend.