Fire season precipitation variability influences fire extent and severity in a large southwestern wilderness area, United States
The authors examined the relationship between annual area burned and fire severity with snowpack and precipitation metrics in a wilderness area.
The authors found that across vegetation types, annual area burned was significantly correlated with the frequency and intensity of springtime rain events. Burn severity was significantly correlated with lack of precipitation represented by total number of days without rain and maximum consecutive number of days without rain. Snowpack was only marginally related to area burned and fire severity in the upper elevation forest types spruce-fir and mixed conifer. Finally, they also found that longer fire seasons measured by an increase in the total and consecutive number of days without rain may have increased area burned by providing longer periods of weather favorable for fire activity.