International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Relative importance of fuel management, ignition management and weather for area burned: evidence from five landscape–fire–succession models

Geoffrey J. Cary A B H , Mike D. Flannigan C , Robert E. Keane D , Ross A. Bradstock B E , Ian D. Davies A , James M. Lenihan F , Chao Li G , Kimberley A. Logan C and Russell A. Parsons D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A The Fenner School of Environment and Society, Linnaeus Way (Building 48), College of Medicine, Biology & The Environment, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

B Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, Level 5, 340 Albert St., East Melbourne, VIC 3002, Australia.

C Canadian Forest Service, 1219 Queen St. East, Sault Ste Marie, ON, P6A 2E5, Canada.

D USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, 5775 W Broadway St., Missoula, MT 59808, USA.

E Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW), PO Box 1967, Hurstville, NSW 1481, Australia.

F USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Corvallis Forestry Sciences Laboratory, 3200 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.

G Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, 5320-122nd St., Edmonton, AB, T6H 3S5, Canada.

H Corresponding author. Email: geoffrey.cary@anu.edu.au

International Journal of Wildland Fire 18(2) 147-156 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF07085
Submitted: 27 June 2007  Accepted: 17 June 2008   Published: 3 April 2009

Abstract

The behaviour of five landscape fire models (CAFÉ, FIRESCAPE, LAMOS(HS), LANDSUM and SEM-LAND) was compared in a standardised modelling experiment. The importance of fuel management approach, fuel management effort, ignition management effort and weather in determining variation in area burned and number of edge pixels burned (a measure of potential impact on assets adjacent to fire-prone landscapes) was quantified for a standardised modelling landscape. Importance was measured as the proportion of variation in area or edge pixels burned explained by each factor and all interactions among them. Weather and ignition management were consistently more important for explaining variation in area burned than fuel management approach and effort, which were found to be statistically unimportant. For the number of edge pixels burned, weather and ignition management were generally more important than fuel management approach and effort. Increased ignition management effort resulted in decreased area burned in all models and decreased number of edge pixels burned in three models. The findings demonstrate that year-to-year variation in weather and the success of ignition management consistently prevail over the effects of fuel management on area burned in a range of modelled ecosystems.

Additional keywords: CAFÉ, fire management, FIRESCAPE, LAMOS, LANDSUM, model comparison, SEM-LAND, simulation modelling.


Acknowledgements

Sandra Lavorel contributed suggestions regarding the experimental design. Hong He contributed suggestions about approaches for analysing the results and interpreting the findings. Scott Stephens and Malcolm Gill are gratefully acknowledged for comments on an earlier manuscript. The Program for Energy Research and Development (PERD) of Natural Resources Canada and the US National Fire Plan are gratefully acknowledged for partially funding the present research.


References


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

Bradstock RA , Gill AM (2001) Living with fire and biodiversity at the urban edge: in search of a sustainable solution to the human protection problem in southern Australia. Journal of Mediterranean Ecology  2, 179–195.


Bradstock RA, Bedward M, Kenny BJ , Scott J (1998a) Spatially explicit simulation of the effect of prescribed burning on fire regimes and plant extinctions in shrublands typical of south-eastern Australia. Biological Conservation  86, 83–95.
CrossRef |

Bradstock RA, Gill AM, Kenny BJ , Scott J (1998b) Bushfire risk at the urban interface estimated from historical weather records: consequences for the use of prescribed fire in the Sydney region of south-eastern Australia. Journal of Environmental Management  52, 259–271.
CrossRef |

Bradstock RA, Williams JE, Gill AM (Eds) (2002) ‘Flammable Australia: the Fire Regimes and Biodiversity of a Continent.’ (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK)

Bradstock RA, Bedward M, Gill AM , Cohn JS (2005) Which mosaic? A landscape ecological approach for evaluating interactions between fire regimes, habitat and animals. Wildlife Research  32, 409–423.
CrossRef |

Bradstock RA, Bedward M , Cohn JS (2006) The modelled effects of differing fire management strategies on the conifer Callitris verrucosa, within semi-arid mallee vegetation in Australia. Journal of Applied Ecology  43, 281–292.
CrossRef |

Bugmann HKM, Yan XD, Sykes MT, Martin P, Lindner M, Desanker PV , Cumming SG (1996) A comparison of forest gap models: model structure and behaviour. Climatic Change  34, 289–313.
CrossRef |

Byram GM (1959) Combustion of forest fuels. In ‘Forest Fire: Control and Use’. (Ed. KP Davis) pp. 61–80. (McGraw-Hill: New York)

Cary GJ (2002) Importance of a changing climate for fire regimes in Australia. In ‘Flammable Australia: the Fire Regimes and Biodiversity of a Continent’. (Eds R Bradstock, AM Gill, J Williams) pp. 26–46. (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK)

Cary GJ (2005) Research priorities arising from the 2002–2003 bushfire season in south-eastern Australia. Australian Forestry  68, 104–111.


Cary GJ, Banks JCG (1999) Fire regime sensitivity to global climate change: an Australian perspective. In ‘Biomass Burning and its Inter-Relationship with the Climate System’. (Eds J Innes, M Verstraete, M Beniston) pp. 233–246. (Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht, the Netherlands)

Cary GJ, Bradstock RA (2003) Sensitivity of fire regimes to management. In ‘Australia Burning: Fire Ecology, Policy and Management Issues’. (Eds G Cary, D Lindenmayer, S Dovers) pp. 65–81. (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne)

Cary GJ, Keane RK, Gardner RH, Lavorel S, Flannigan M, Davies ID, Li C, Lenihan JM, Rupp TS , Mouillot F (2006) Comparison of the sensitivity of landscape-fire succession models to variation in terrain, fuel pattern, climate and weather. Landscape Ecology  21, 121–137.
CrossRef |

Crutzen PJ, Goldammer JG (1993) ‘Fire in the Environment: the Ecological, Atmospheric and Climatic Importance of Vegetation Fires.’ (Wiley: New York)

Cumming SG (2005) Effective fire suppression in boreal forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research  35, 772–786.
CrossRef |

Dale VH, Joyce LA, McNulty S, Neilson RP, Ayres MP, Flannigan MD, Hanson PJ, Irland LC, Lugo AE, Peterson CJ, Simberloff D, Swanson FJ, Stocks BJ , Wotton BM (2001) Forest disturbances and climate change. Bioscience  51, 723–734.
CrossRef |

Fernandes PM , Botelho HS (2003) A review of prescribed burning effectiveness. International Journal of Wildland Fire  12, 117–128.
CrossRef |

Finney MA (2001) Design of regular landscape fuel treatment patterns for modifying fire growth and behavior. Forest Science  47, 219–228.


Finney MA (2007) A computational method for optimising fuel treatment locations. International Journal of Wildland Fire  16, 702–711.
CrossRef |

Flannigan MD, Wotton BM (2001) Climate, weather and area burned. In ‘Forest Fires: Behaviour and Ecological Effects’. (Eds E Johnson, K Miyanishi) pp. 335–357. (Kluwer Academic Press: San Diego, CA)

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

Fried JS, Gilless JK, Riley WJ, Moody TJ, Simon de Blas C, Hayhoe K, Moritz M, Stephens S , Tom M (2008) Predicting the effect of climate change on wildfire behavior and initial attack success. Climatic Change  87(Suppl. 1), 251–264.
CrossRef |

Gardner RH, Milne BT , Turner MG (1987) Neutral models for the analysis of broad-scale landscape pattern. Landscape Ecology  1, 19–28.
CrossRef |

Hammer RB, Radeloff VC, Fried JS , Stewart SI (2007) Wildland–urban interface housing growth during the 1990s in California, Oregon and Washington. International Journal of Wildland Fire  16, 255–265.
CrossRef |

Hammill KA , Bradstock RA (2006) Remote sensing of fire severity in the Blue Mountains: influence of vegetation type and inferring fire intensity. International Journal of Wildland Fire  15, 213–226.
CrossRef |

Hély C, Flannigan M, Bergeron Y , McRae D (2001) Role of vegetation and weather on fire behaviour in the Canadian mixedwood boreal forest using two fire behaviour prediction systems. Canadian Journal of Forest Research  31, 430–441.
CrossRef |

Keane RE, Parsons R , Hessburg P (2002) Estimating historical range and variation of landscape patch dynamics: limitations of the simulation approach. Ecological Modelling  151, 29–49.
CrossRef |

Keane RE, Cary GJ , Parsons R (2003) Using simulation to map fire regimes: an evaluation of approaches, strategies, and limitations. International Journal of Wildland Fire  12, 309–322.
CrossRef |

Keane RE, Cary GJ, Davies ID, Flannigan MD, Gardner RH, Lavorel S, Lennihan JM, Li C , Rupp TS (2004) A classification of landscape fire succession models: spatial simulations of fire and vegetation dynamics. Ecological Modelling  179, 3–27.
CrossRef |

Keane RE, Holsinger L, Pratt S (2006) Simulating historical landscape dynamics using the landscape fire succession model LANDSUM version 4.0. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-171CD. (Fort Collins, CO)

Keeley JE, Fotheringham CJ , Morais M (1999) Reexamining fire suppression impacts on brushland fire regimes. Science  284, 1829–1832.
CrossRef | CAS | PubMed |

King KJ, Cary GJ, Bradstock RA, Chapman J, Pyrke A , Marsden-Smedley JB (2006) Simulation of prescribed burning strategies in south-west Tasmania, Australia: effects on unplanned fires, fire regimes, and ecological management values. International Journal of Wildland Fire  15, 527–540.
CrossRef |

Krebs C (2003) Observations on fire ecology. In ‘Australia Burning: Fire Ecology, Policy and Management Issues’. (Eds G Cary, D Lindenmayer, S Dovers) pp. 229–235. (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne)

Lavorel S, Davies ID, Noble IR (2000) LAMOS: a LAndscape MOdelling Shell. In ‘Landscape Fire Modelling – Challenges and Opportunities’. (Eds B Hawkes, M Flannigan) Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, Information Report NOR-X-371, pp. 25–28. (Edmonton, AB)

Li C (2000) Reconstruction of natural fire regimes through ecological modelling. Ecological Modelling  134, 129–144.
CrossRef |

Li C, Flanningan MD , Corns IGW (2000) Influence of potential climate change on forest landscape dynamics of west central Alberta. Canadian Journal of Forest Research  30, 1905–1912.
CrossRef |

Minnich RA , Chou YH (1997) Wildland fire patch dynamics in the chaparral of southern California and northern Baja California. International Journal of Wildland Fire  7, 221–248.
CrossRef |

Miyanishi K , Johnson EA (2001) Comment – A reexamination of the effects of fire suppression in the boreal forest. Canadian Journal of Forest Research  31, 1462–1466.
CrossRef |

Moritz MA , Stephens SL (2008) Fire and sustainability: considerations for California’s altered future climate. Climatic Change  87(Suppl. 1), 265–271.
CrossRef |

Piñol J, Beven K , Viegas DX (2005) Modelling the effects of fire-exclusion and prescribed fire on wildfire size in Mediterranean ecosystems. Ecological Modelling  183, 397–409.
CrossRef |

Pyne SJ, Andrews PL, Laven RD (1996) ‘Introduction to Wildland Fire.’ 2nd edn. (Wiley: New York)

Radeloff VC, Hammer RB, Stewart SI, Fried JS, Holcomb SS , McKeefry JF (2005) The wildland–urban interface in the United States. Ecological Applications  15, 799–805.
CrossRef |

Richardson CW (1981) Stochastic simulation of daily precipitation, temperature, and solar radiation. Water Resources Research  17, 182–190.
CrossRef |

Shang BZ, He HS, Crow TR , Shifley SR (2004) Fuel load reductions and fire risk in central hardwood forests of the United States: a spatial simulation study. Ecological Modelling  180, 89–102.
CrossRef |

Swetnam TW (1993) Fire history and climate change in giant sequoia groves. Science  262, 885–889.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Ward PC, Tithecott AG , Wotton BM (2001) Reply – A reexamination of the effects of fire suppression in the boreal forest. Canadian Journal of Forest Research  31, 1467–1480.
CrossRef |



Export Citation Cited By (57)