Full Citation: Barbero, Renaud; Abatzoglou, John T.; Steel, E. Ashley; Larkin, Narasimhan K. 2014. Modeling very large-fire occurrences over the continental United States from weather and climate forcing. Environmental Research Letters 9(12).
External Identifier(s): 10.1088/1748-9326/9/12/124009 Digital Object Identifier
Location: Contiguous U.S., 13 Omernik Level II ecoregions of the U.S.
Ecosystem types: None specified
Southwest FireCLIME Keywords: None
FRAMES Keywords: fire size, wildfires, fire management, forest management, VLF - very large fire, timescales, air quality

Modeling very large-fire occurrences over the continental United States from weather and climate forcing

Renaud Barbero, John T. Abatzoglou, E. Ashley Steel, Narasimhan K. Larkin


Summary - what did the authors do and why?

The authors developed models of very large fire occurrence (> 5000ha) using solely atmospheric climate predictors and compared the modes to the observed spatial and temporal variability across ecoregions of the U.S. to identify the most important climate variables driving large fire occurrence and to understand how large fire occurrence may be change due to future climate changes.


Publication findings:

The authors found that in flammability-limited ecoregions, specifically the Western Cordillera and Appalachian forests, long-term drought conditions were strong predictors of very large fire occurrence. Prior year anomalously wet conditions preceded very large fire occurrence in fuel-limited ecoregions, Semi-arid Prairies and Sierra Madre Piedmont of southern Arizona.

Climate and Fire Linkages

The authors found that in flammability-limited ecoregions, specifically the Western Cordillera and Appalachian forests, long-term drought conditions were strong predictors of very large fire occurrence. Prior year anomalously wet conditions preceded very large fire occurrence in fuel-limited ecoregions, Semi-arid Prairies and Sierra Madre Piedmont of southern Arizona.