Canadian Forest Service Publications

Spatial patterns of forest fires in Canada, 1980–1999. 2006. Parisien, M.-A.; Peters, V.S.; Wang, Y.; Little, J.M.; Bosch, E.M.; Stocks, B.J. International Journal of Wildland Fire 15(3): 361-374.

Year: 2006

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 26352

Language: English

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The present study characterized the spatial patterns of forest fires in 10 fire-dominated ecozones of Canada by using a database of mapped fires .200 ha from 1980 to 1999 (n=5533 fires). Spatial metrics were used individually to compare measures of fire size, shape (eccentricity and complexity), clustering, and geographic orientation among ecozones and were used concurrently in a multivariate analysis. In addition, a set of factors that influence the fire regime at the ecozone level . topography, climate, fuels, and anthropogenic factors . was compared with the metric outputs. We found significant differences in all spatial metrics among ecozones. The multivariate analysis showed that the Montane Cordillera ecozone, which covers most of British Columbia, had the most distinctive fires: its fires were smaller, less complex, and had a more regular distribution. The fire regime descriptors of ecozones were useful to interpret the spatial variation of some spatial metrics, such as fire size, eccentricity, and clustering, but provided little insight into the mechanisms of patterns of fire complexity, which were shown to be sensitive to data quality. Our results provide additional information about the creation of spatially heterogeneous landscapes. Furthermore, they illustrate the potential use of spatial metrics for a more detailed characterization of fire regimes and provide novel information for ecosystems-based land management.