CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > International Journal of Wildland Fire   
International Journal of Wildland Fire
http://www.iawfonline.org/
  Published on behalf of the International Association of Wildland Fire
 
blank image Search
 
blank image blank image
blank image
 
  Advanced Search
   

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Structure
Contacts
Content
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Research Fronts
Sample Issue
20-Year Author Index
For Authors
General Information
Scope
Submit Article
Author Instructions
Open Access
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with CP
blank image
facebook twitter LinkedIn

red arrow Connect with IAWF
blank image
facebook twitter LinkedIn

 

Article     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 20(4)

Relative importance of weather and climate on wildfire growth in interior Alaska

John T. Abatzoglou A B and Crystal A. Kolden A

A Department of Geography, University of Idaho, PO BOX 443021, Moscow, ID 83844-3021, USA.
B Corresponding author. Email: jabatzoglou@uidaho.edu

International Journal of Wildland Fire 20(4) 479-486 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF10046
Submitted: 27 April 2010  Accepted: 29 September 2010   Published: 20 June 2011


 
PDF (457 KB) $25
 Export Citation
 Print
  
Abstract

Efforts to quantify relationships between climate and wildfire in Alaska have not yet explored the role of higher-frequency meteorological conditions on individual wildfire ignition and growth. To address this gap, meteorological data for 665 large fires that burned across the Alaskan interior between 1980 and 2007 were assessed to determine the respective influence of higher-frequency weather and lower-frequency climate, in terms of both antecedent and post-ignition conditions on fire growth. Antecedent climate exhibited no discernable influence on eventual fire size. In contrast, fire size was sensitive to weather in the days to weeks following ignition, particularly the post-ignition timing of precipitation. Prolonged periods of warm and dry conditions coincident with blocking that persists for several weeks after ignition enabled growth of large wildfires, whereas the return of wetting precipitation generally within a week after ignition inhibited growth of smaller wildfires. These results suggest that daily weather data are a critical predictor of fire growth and large fire potential and encourage their use in fire management and modelling.

Additional keywords: boreal forest, fire danger indices.


References

Abatzoglou JT, Redmond KT, Edwards LM (2009) Classification of regional climate variability in the state of California. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 48, 1527–1541.
CrossRef |

Balshi MS, McGuire AD, Duffy PA, Flannigan MD, Walsh J, Melillo J (2009) Assessing the response of area burned to changing climate in western boreal North America using a Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines (MARS) approach. Global Change Biology 15, 578–600.
CrossRef |

Balshi MS, McGuire AD, Duffy PA, Flannigan MD, Kicklighter DW, Melillo J (2009) Vulnerability of carbon storage in North American boreal forests to wildfires during the 21st century. Global Change Biology 15, 1491–1510.
CrossRef |

Bessie WC, Johnson EA (1995) The relative importance of fuels and weather on fire behavior in subalpine forests. Ecology 76, 747–762.
CrossRef |

Chapin FS, Oswod MW, Van Cleve K, Viereck LA, Verbyla DL (Eds) (2006) ‘Alaska’s Changing Boreal Forest.’ (Oxford University Press: New York)

Chapin FS, Trainor S, Huntington O, Lovecraft A, Zavaleta E, Natcher D, McGuire AD, Nelson J, Ray L, Calef M, Fresco N, Huntington H, Rupp TS, DeWilde L, Naylor R (2008) Increasing wildfire in Alaska’s boreal forest: pathways to potential solutions of a wicked problem. BioScience 58, 531–540.
CrossRef |

Daly C, Neilson RP, Phillips DL (1994) A statistical–topographic model for mapping climatological precipitation over mountainous terrain. Journal of Applied Meteorology 33, 140–158.
CrossRef |

DeWilde L, Chapin FS (2006) Human impacts on the fire regime of interior Alaska: interactions among fuels, ignition sources, and fire suppression. Ecosystems 9, 1342–1353.
CrossRef |

Duffy PA, Walsh JE, Graham JM, Mann DH, Rupp TS (2005) Impacts of large-scale atmospheric–ocean variability on Alaskan fire season severity. Ecological Applications 15, 1317–1330.
CrossRef |

Flannigan MD, Harrington JB (1988) A study of the relation of meteorological variables to monthly provincial area burned by wildfire in Canada (1953–80). Journal of Applied Meteorology 27, 441–452.
CrossRef |

Flannigan MD, Logan KA, Amiro BD, Skinner WR, Stocks BJ (2005) Future area burned in Canada. Climatic Change 72, 1–16.
CrossRef | CAS |

IPCC (2007) ‘Climate Change 2007: the Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.’ (Eds S Solomon, D Qin, M Manning, Z Chen, M Marquis, KB Averyt, M Tignor, HL Miller) (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, and New York)

Jandt RR, Allen JA, Horschel EA (2005) Forest floor moisture content and fire danger indices in Alaska. Bureau of Land Management, Technical Report 54. (Fairbanks, AK)

Johnson EA, Wowchuk DR (1993) Wildfires in the southern Canadian Rocky Mountains and their relationship to mid-tropospheric anomalies. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 23, 1213–1222.
CrossRef |

Kasischke ES, Turetsky MR (2006) Recent changes in the fire regime across the North American boreal region – spatial and temporal patterns of burning across Canada and Alaska. Geophysical Research Letters 33, L09703
CrossRef |

Kasischke ES, Williams D, Barry D (2002) Analysis of the patterns of large fires in the boreal forest region of Alaska. International Journal of Wildland Fire 11, 131–144.
CrossRef |

Mesinger F, DiMego G, Kalnay E, Mitchell K, Shafran PC, Ebisuzaki W, Jovic D, Woollen J, Rogers E, Berbery EH, Ek MB, Fan Y, Grumbine R, Higgins W, Li H, Lin Y, Manikin G, Parrish D, Shi W (2006) North American regional reanalysis. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 87, 343–360.
CrossRef |

Nash CH, Johnson EA (1996) Synoptic climatology of lightning-caused forest fires in subalpine and boreal forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 26, 1859–1874.
CrossRef |

Nowacki G, Spencer P, Brock T, Fleming M, Jorgenson T (2001) Ecoregions of Alaska and neighboring territory. (US Geological Survey Data Publication: Reston, VA) Available at http://agdc.usgs.gov/data/projects/fhm/ [Verified 25 August 2010]

Peterson TC, Vose RS (1997) An overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network temperature database. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 78, 2837–2849.
CrossRef |

Shulski M, Wendler G (2007) ‘The Climate of Alaska.’ (University of Alaska Press: Fairbanks, AK)

Shulski M, Wendler G, Alden S, Larkin N (2005) Alaska’s exceptional 2004 fire season. In ‘Proceedings: Sixth Fire and Forest Meteorology Symposium’, October 2005, Canmore, Canada. Available at http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/97633.pdf [Verified 26 April 2011]

Skinner WR, Stocks BJ, Martell DL, Bonsal B, Shabbar A (1999) The association between circulation anomalies in the midtroposphere and area burned by wildland fire in Canada. Theoretical and Applied Climatology 63, 89–105.
CrossRef |

Tibaldi S, Molteni F (1990) On the operational predictability of blocking. Tellus 42A, 343–365..

Turner MG, Baker WL, Peterson CJ, Peet RK (1998) Factors influencing succession: lessons learned from large, infrequent natural disturbances. Ecosystems 1, 511–523.
CrossRef |

Van Wagner CE (1987) Development and structure of the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System. Canadian Forestry Service, Forestry Technical Report 35. (Ottawa, ON)

Westerling AL, Brown TJ, Gershunov A, Cayan DR, Dettinger MD (2003) Climate and wildfire in the western United States. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 84, 595–604.
CrossRef |

Wotton BM (2009) Interpreting and using outputs from the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System in research applications. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 16, 107
CrossRef | CAS |


   
Subscriber Login
Username:
Password:  

 
    
Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help

CSIRO

© CSIRO 1996-2015