Canadian Forest Service Publications

Climate change and people-caused forest fire occurrence in Ontario. 2003. Wotton, B.M.; Martell, D.L.; Logan, K.A. Climatic Change 60: 275-295.

Year: 2003

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 24684

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Mark record


Climate change that results from increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has the potential to increase temperature and alter rainfall patterns across the boreal forest region of Canada. Daily output from the Canadian Climate Centre coupled general circulation model (GCM) and the Hadley Centre's HadCM3 GCM provided simulated historic climate data and future climate scenarios for the forested area of the province of Ontario, Canada. These models project that in climates of increased greenhouse gases and aerosols, surface air temperatures will increase while seasonal precipitation amounts will remain relatively constant or increase slightly during the forest fire season. These projected changes in weather conditions are used to predict changes in the moisture content of forest fuel, which influences the incidence of people-caused forest fires. Poisson regression analysis methods are used to develop predictive models for the daily number of fires occurring in each of the ecoregions across the forest fire management region of Ontario. This people-caused fire prediction model, combined with GCM data, predicts the total number of people-caused fires in Ontario could increase by approximately 18% by 2020–2040 and 50% by the end of the 21st century.