Researchers develop model to predict wildfire occurrence

Their model uses temperature and precipitation to determine probability

A team of researchers from the University of Missouri and the U.S. Forest Service are continuing an effort to research how climate influences wildfire frequency. The model focuses on two variables – temperature and precipitation – to understand how climate drives wildfire across the world.

After acquiring historic fire occurrence data from tree ring and other studies they developed a mathematical model using temperature and precipitation as the two variables. In validation runs, the predictions the model generated were close to actual fire patterns.  As they continued to collect additional historic data from locations around the world during the last several years, they refined the model making it more accurate.

research wildfire probability temperature precipitation
A Combustion-Climate diagram (CCd) of climate influences on fire probability. Climate simulated fire probabilities for ‘natural’ ecosystems using mean maximum temperature and annual precipitation in the PC2FM. This rate diagram explains two temporal differences related to the combustion of ecosystems. Temperature and precipitation affect the reaction rate at the time the reaction occurs while the rate of fuel production determines the fuel concentration and its combustion rate. These two timing conditions differentially determine the rates of the two components of the PC2FM model: ARterm and the PTrc3. (From the team’s research)

“You can see patterns in global wildfire frequency that are obviously predictable,” Michael Stambaugh, an associate research professor in forestry, said. “For example, ¹Greenland doesn’t burn. It’s too icy and wet. It’s on one end of the spectrum. The other end of the spectrum is a place like the Sahara Desert, which doesn’t burn either. It’s too dry and there’s not enough fuel. Between those two extremes, we were confident that there was a way to describe the transition.”

The work is being done by Richard Guyette, Michael Stambaugh, Daniel Dey, and Rose-Marie Muzika who developed what they call the “Physical Chemical Fire Frequency Model (PC2FM)”.

More information about their research.

 

¹Note from Bill: To be clear, Greenland RARELY burns

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills.

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2 thoughts on “Researchers develop model to predict wildfire occurrence”

  1. Heh. These researchers need to research a bit more or maybe take some adventurous field trips once in a while. Your previous article on the satellite videos had a Greenland fire. And the Sahara indeed can burn, because the short rainy season makes grasses grow up fast, then die, leaving super-dried savannas.

  2. Sudan suffers from frequent wild fires affecting forests and pastures,Leading to the loss of many animal resources leading to poverty and the death of many livestock
    specialize in fire fighting and I want training in fire fighting systems
    Can you help me with fire fighting training and training?
    regards
    Mogahid Ahmed
    Sudan- Forests National Corporation

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