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The impact of fire suppression, vegetation, and weather on the area burned by lightning-caused forest fires in Ontario

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We describe the development of a statistical model of spatial variation in the area burned by lightning-caused forest fires across the province of Ontario. We partitioned Ontario’s fire region into 35 compartments, each of which is relatively homogeneous with respect to its vegetation, weather, and the level of fire protection it receives. We used linear regression and spatial autoregressive models to relate the average annual area burned in a compartment to its vegetation, weather, and level of protection attributes. We also examined the relationship between burned area and the level of protection in two areas that are relatively homogeneous with respect to vegetation and weather. We found a statistically significant relationship between the average annual fraction of the area of a compartment burned by lightning-caused forest fires and its vegetation, weather, and the level of fire suppression effort it receives.

Nous décrivons le développement d’un modèle statistique de la variation spatiale de la superficie détruite par les incendies de forêt causés par la foudre dans la province d’Ontario. Nous avons divisé la région des feux de l’Ontario en 35compartiments. Chacun de ces compartiments est relativement homogène quant à la végétation, aux conditions météorologiques et au niveau de protection contre les incendies. Nous avons utilisé des modèles de régression linéaire et la modélisation spatiale autorégressive pour relier la superficie annuelle moyenne détruite par le feu dans un compartiment aux caractéristiques de sa végétation, de ses conditions météorologiques et de son niveau de protection. Nous avons aussi examiné la relation entre les superficies détruites par le feu et le niveau de protection dans deux zones avec où la végétation et les conditions météorologiques sont relativement homogènes. Nous avons trouvé qu’il y a une relation statistiquement significative entre la fraction annuelle moyenne de la superficie d’un compartiment qui est détruite par des incendies de forêt causés par la foudre et sa végétation, ses conditions météorologiques et le niveau d’effort consenti pour y supprimer les feux.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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