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Understanding Broadscale Wildfire Risks in a Human-Dominated Landscape

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Abstract:

Broadscale statistical evaluations of wildfire incidence can answer policy-relevant questions about the effectiveness of microlevel vegetation management and can identify subjects needing further study. A dynamic time series cross-sectional model was used to evaluate the statistical links between forest wildfire and vegetation management, human land use, and climatic factors in Florida counties. Four forest wildfire risk functions were estimated: one for fires regardless of ignition source, and three others for fires of specific ignition sources: arson, lightning, and accident (unintentional anthropogenic). Results suggest that current wildfire risk is negatively related to several years of past wildfire and very recent site prep burning, and risk is positively related to pulpwood removals. The effect of traditional prescribed burning on wildfire risk varies by ignition source. El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies were also significantly linked to forest wildfire risk, but a measure of the wildland-urban interface was not significant. Although these county-level results hold promise for aggregate risk assessment, modeling at finer spatial and temporal scales might further enhance our understanding of how land managers can best reduce the longer term risk of catastrophic wildfire damages. For. Sci. 48(4):685–693.

Keywords: El Niño-Southern Oscillation; Vegetation management; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; wildfire production; wildland-urban interface

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 12254 Research Triangle Park, NC, 27709, Phone: (919)-549-4033; Fax: (919)-549-4047 jprestemon@fs.fed.us 2: Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 12254 Research Triangle Park, NC, 27709, Phone: (919)-549-4033; Fax: (919)-549-4047 jpye@fs.fed.us 3: Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 12254 Research Triangle Park, NC, 27709, Phone: (919)-549-4033; Fax: (919)-549-4047 dbutry@fs.fed.us 4: Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 12254 Research Triangle Park, NC, 27709, Phone: (919)-549-4033; Fax: (919)-549-4047 tholmes@fs.fed.us 5: Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 12254 Research Triangle Park, NC, 27709, Phone: (919)-549-4033; Fax: (919)-549-4047 emercer@fs.fed.us

Publication date: 2002-11-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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