Canadian Forest Service Publications

An evaluation of spatial and temporal patterns of lightning- and human-caused forest fires in Alberta, Canada, 1980-2007. 2010. Wang, Y.; Anderson, K.R. International Journal of Wildland Fire 19(8):1059-1072.

Year: 2010

Available from: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 31967

Language: English

CFS Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (request by e-mail)


We used the K-function and kernel estimation methods to evaluate the spatial and temporal patterns of ignition locations of lightning- and human-caused forest fires in Alberta, Canada. Although both of these fire types have spatial patterns of cluster distribution, quantitative measures for evaluating the patterns in the province are lacking. Our results revealed annual differences in the spatial patterns between the two fire types, whereby fires caused by humans tended to be more clustered and had more complex spatial patterns than those caused by lightning. Spatial interactions of cluster and inhibition existed between the two fire types. Human-caused fires in the period 2003–07 were highly concentrated in the southern parts of the province, indicating the existence of an interaction between space and time. Kernel analysis confirmed the observation that in northern Alberta, lightning-caused fires were more likely to occur than human-caused fires; the opposite was true in southern Alberta. This study provided useful spatial information that is not obvious or cannot be inferred from visual examination of raw data. Such quantitative knowledge could lead to the development of fire-response and fire-suppression strategies appropriate to specific regions within the province.

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