Predicting the effect of climate change on wildfire behavior and initial attack success

Jeremy S. Fried, J. Keith Gilless, William J. Riley, Tadashi J. Moody, Clara Simon de Blas, Katharine Hayhoe, Max Moritz, Scott Stephens, Margaret Torn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study focused on how climate change-induced effects on weather will translate into changes in wildland fire severity and outcomes in California, particularly on the effectiveness of initial attack at limiting the number of fires that escape initial attack. The results indicate that subtle shifts in fire behavior of the sort that might be induced by the climate changes anticipated for the next century are of sufficient magnitude to generate an appreciable increase in the number of fires that escape initial attack. Such escapes are of considerable importance in wildland fire protection planning, given the high cost to society of a catastrophic escape like those experienced in recent decades in the Berkeley-Oakland, Santa Barbara, San Diego, or Los Angeles areas. However, at least for the three study areas considered, it would appear that relatively modest augmentations to existing firefighting resources might be sufficient to compensate for change-induced changes in wildland fire outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S251-S264
JournalClimatic Change
Volume87
Issue number1 SUPPL
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

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