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

Integrating geospatial information into fire risk assessment

E. Chuvieco A I J , I. Aguado A I , S. Jurdao A I , M. L. Pettinari A , M. Yebra A H , J. Salas A I , S. Hantson A , J. de la Riva B , P. Ibarra B , M. Rodrigues B , M. Echeverría B , D. Azqueta C , M. V. Román C , A. Bastarrika D , S. Martínez E , C. Recondo F , E. Zapico F and F. J. Martínez-Vega G I

A Departamento de Geografía, Universidad de Alcalá, Colegios 2, E-28801 Alcalá de Henares, Spain.

B Departamento de Geografía y Ordenación del Territorio, Universidad de Zaragoza, C/ Pedro Cerbuna 12, E-50009 Zaragoza, Spain.

C Departamento de Fundamentos de Economía e Historia Económica, Universidad de Alcalá, Plaza de la Victoria, 2, E-28802 Alcalá de Henares, Spain.

D Departamento de Ingeniería Topográfica, Universidad del País Vasco, Nieves Cano, 12 CP, E-01006 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Álava, Spain.

E Departamento de Botánica-IBADER, Universidad de Santiago, Campus Universitario s/n, E-27002 Lugo, Spain.

F Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Ordenación del Territorio (INDUROT), Universidad de Oviedo, Campus de Mieres, Calle Gonzalo Gutiérrez Quirós s/n, E-33600 MIERES, Spain.

G Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales (CCHS), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Albasanz 26-28, E-28037 Madrid, Spain.

H CSIRO Land and Water, GPO Box 1666, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

I GEOLAB Unidad Asociada UAH-CSIC, Spain.

J Corresponding author. Email: emilio.chuvieco@uah.es

International Journal of Wildland Fire 23(5) 606-619 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF12052
Submitted: 2 April 2012  Accepted: 28 August 2012   Published: 22 October 2012

Abstract

Fire risk assessment should take into account the most relevant components associated to fire occurrence. To estimate when and where the fire will produce undesired effects, we need to model both (a) fire ignition and propagation potential and (b) fire vulnerability. Following these ideas, a comprehensive fire risk assessment system is proposed in this paper, which makes extensive use of geographic information technologies to offer a spatially explicit evaluation of fire risk conditions. The paper first describes the conceptual model, then the methods to generate the different input variables, the approaches to merge those variables into synthetic risk indices and finally the validation of the outputs. The model has been applied at a national level for the whole Spanish Iberian territory at 1-km2 spatial resolution. Fire danger included human factors, lightning probability, fuel moisture content of both dead and live fuels and propagation potential. Fire vulnerability was assessed by analysing values-at-risk and landscape resilience. Each input variable included a particular accuracy assessment, whereas the synthetic indices were validated using the most recent fire statistics available. Significant relations (P < 0.001) with fire occurrence were found for the main synthetic danger indices, particularly for those associated to fuel moisture content conditions.

Additional keywords: fire propagation, fuel moisture content, geographic information systems, human factors, remote sensing, vulnerability.


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