Canadian Forest Service Publications

Spatial and temporal patterns of wildfire ignitions in Canada from 1980 to 2006. 2012. Gralewicz, N.J.; Nelson, T.A.; Wulder, M.A. International Journal of Wildland Fire 21(3): 230-242.

Year: 2012

Available from: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 33277

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1071/WF10095

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A spatially explicit baseline measure of historic, current and future wildfire ignition expectations is required to monitor and understand changes in fire occurrence, the distribution of which climate change is anticipated to modify. Using spatial–temporal patterns of fire in Canada, we present a method to identify baseline expectations and ignition trends between 1980 and 2006 across 1-km spatial units. Kernel density estimates of wildfire ignitions and temporal trajectory metrics were calculated to describe expected ignition density, variability from expected density, and increasing or decreasing density trends. Baseline ignition expectations and trends were used to create unique fire ignition regimes and assess anthropogenic influence on ignitions. Fire ignition densities decreased exponentially as distance to road or populated place increased, and largest ignition trends occurred closest to both variables. Fire ignition regime delineation was more dependent on human transportation networks than human settlement. These findings provide a unique approach to quantifying ignition expectations. This research highlights the potential of this baseline approach for monitoring efforts and fire–environment interaction research and offers a preliminary spatially explicit model of wildfire occurrence expectations in Canada.

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