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Atmosphere 2018, 9(6), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9060207

Contemporary Pyrogeography and Wildfire-Climate Relationships of South Dakota, USA

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, SD 57701, USA
Received: 17 April 2018 / Revised: 15 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 25 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fire and the Atmosphere)
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Abstract

A recent wildland fire history and climate database was compiled for South Dakota, USA (SD). Wildfires are generally a warm season phenomenon across central and western SD while eastern SD exhibits a spring peak in annual wildfire activity. It is hypothesized that regional climate and land use are the two primary drivers of the spatiotemporal wildfire distribution across the state. To assess the relative impacts of climate to wildfire activity, Spearman’s rank order correlation coefficients were calculated for monthly values of temperature, precipitation, and the Palmer Drought Modified Index (PMDI) as compared to both monthly area burned and numbers of fire starts data for each of the nine climate divisions in South Dakota. Results show statewide variations in significant correlations but positive temperature anomalies, negative precipitation anomalies, and negative values of the PMDI were most frequently associated with months showing substantial area burned and large numbers of wildfire starts. Time-lagged significant correlations were also seen implying month(s)-ahead predictive capabilities. Positive PMDI values were most significantly correlated to warm season wildfire activity suggesting that the influence of drought on wildfires within SD may be limited to the summer months. View Full-Text
Keywords: wildfire; climatology; pyrogeography wildfire; climatology; pyrogeography
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Clabo, D.R. Contemporary Pyrogeography and Wildfire-Climate Relationships of South Dakota, USA. Atmosphere 2018, 9, 207.

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