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Variables That Influence Changes in Fire Severity and Their Relationship with Changes Between Surface and Crown Fires in a Wind-Driven Wildfire

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The identification of the relationships between fire severities and fire types can be a new way to obtain knowledge about variables that cause transitions between surface and crown fires. In this study, we analyze the variables that influence fire severity and their relationship to changes in fire type in a wind-driven wildfire that burned under extreme conditions in the Northeast Iberian Peninsula. Ten of the 12 variables that affected severity were related to fuels, 1 was topographic, and 1 was related to fire spread. Not all changes in fire severity imply changes in fire type. Changes in green and scorched severities were not related to changes in fire type, but there was a strong relationship between changes in scorched and charred severities and the transition to active crown fires. The wind alignment and percentage of large trees contributed to the transition to charred severity and to the initiation of an active crown fire, whereas the cessation of an active crown fire and the transition to scorched severities were affected by tree density and the type of slope. The use of this methodology in other wildfires could provide a better understanding of the variables that influence the transitions to crown fires.

Keywords: Pinus halepensis; fire type; forest structure; fuels; wind-driven wildfire

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-04-16

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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