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Forests 2015, 6(9), 3197-3211; doi:10.3390/f6093197

Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Wildfire Risk in the United States

1
Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
2
Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eric J. Jokela
Received: 28 February 2015 / Revised: 24 July 2015 / Accepted: 9 September 2015 / Published: 15 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Forest Fire)
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Abstract

This study examines the statistical association of wildfire risk with climatic conditions and non-climate variables in 48 continental US states. Because the response variable “wildfire risk” is a fractional variable bounded between zero and one, we use a non-linear panel data model to recognize the bounded nature of the response variable. We estimate the non-linear panel data model (fractional probit) using the Generalized Estimating Equation (GEE) approach to ensure that the parameter estimation is efficient. The statistical model, coupled with the future climates projected by Global Climate Models (GCMs), is then employed to assess the impact of global climate change on wildfire risk. Our regression results show that wildfire risk is positively related to spring, summer, and winter temperatures and human population density whereas it is negatively associated with precipitation. The simulation results based on GCMs and the regression model indicate that climate change will intensify wildfire risk throughout the entire US, especially in the South Central region, posing an increasing wildfire threat and thus calling for more effective wildfire management strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: wildfire risk; climate change; fractional probit; generalized estimating equation; the United States wildfire risk; climate change; fractional probit; generalized estimating equation; the United States
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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An, H.; Gan, J.; Cho, S.J. Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Wildfire Risk in the United States. Forests 2015, 6, 3197-3211.

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