International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Spatially varying constraints of human-caused fire occurrence in British Columbia, Canada

Philip E. Camp A and Meg A. Krawchuk B C

A Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada.

B Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, 336 Richardson Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.

C Corresponding author. Email: meg.krawchuk@oregonstate.edu

International Journal of Wildland Fire 26(3) 219-229 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF16108
Submitted: 11 June 2016  Accepted: 21 January 2017   Published: 23 February 2017

Abstract

Human-caused wildfires are controlled by human and natural influences, and determining their key drivers is critical for understanding spatial patterns of wildfire and implementing effective fire management. We examined an array of explanatory variables that account for spatial controls of human-caused fire occurrence from 1990 to 2013 among six ecosystem zones that vary in human footprint and environmental characteristics in British Columbia, Canada. We found that long-term patterns of human-caused fire in ecosystem zones with a larger human footprint were strongly controlled by biophysical variables explaining conditions conducive to burning, whereas fire occurrence in remote ecosystem zones was controlled by various metrics of human activity. A metric representing the wildland–urban interface was a key factor explaining human-caused fire occurrence regardless of ecosystem zone. Our results contribute to the growing body of research on the varying constraints of spatial patterns of fire occurrence by explicitly examining human-caused fire and the heterogeneity of constraints based on human development.

Additional keywords: biogeoclimatic zones, human-caused ignitions, multiple regression, wildland–urban interface.


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