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

Detection of clusters using space–time scan statistics

Marj Tonini A B , Devis Tuia A and Frédéric Ratle A

A Institute of Geomatics and Risk Analysis, University of Lausanne, Amphipôle, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.

B Corresponding author. Email:

International Journal of Wildland Fire 18(7) 830-836
Submitted: 26 November 2007  Accepted: 22 January 2009   Published: 27 October 2009


This paper aims at detecting spatio-temporal clustering in fire sequences using space–time scan statistics, a powerful statistical framework for the analysis of point processes. The methodology is applied to active fire detection in the state of Florida (US) identified by MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) during the period 2003–06. Results of the present study show that statistically significant clusters can be detected and localized in specific areas and periods of the year. Three out of the five most likely clusters detected for the entire frame period are localized in the north of the state, and they cover forest areas; the other two clusters cover a large zone in the south, corresponding to agricultural land and the prairies in the Everglades. In order to analyze if the wildfires recur each year during the same period, the analyses have been performed separately for the 4 years: it emerges that clusters of forest fires are more frequent in hot seasons (spring and summer), while in the southern areas, they are widely present during the whole year. The recognition of overdensities of events and the ability to locate them in space and in time can help in supporting fire management and focussing on prevention measures.

Additional keywords: Florida, MODIS active fires.


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