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Open AccessArticle

Drivers of Wildfire Occurrence Patterns in the Inland Riverine Environment of New South Wales, Australia

1
College of Transport and Communications, Shanghai Maritime University, Shanghai 201306, China
2
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(6), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10060524
Received: 27 March 2019 / Revised: 18 June 2019 / Accepted: 21 June 2019 / Published: 24 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fire Effects and Management in Forests)
In the inland riverine environment of Australia, wildfires not only threaten human life and cause economic loss but also make distinctive impacts on the ecosystem (e.g., injuring or killing fire-sensitive wetland species such as the river red gum). Understanding the drivers of wildfire occurrence patterns in this particular environment is vital for fire-risk reduction and ecologically sustainable management. This study investigated patterns and driving factors of wildfire occurrence over the years from 2001 to 2016 and across the New South Wales side of the Riverina bioregion. Descriptive analyses were conducted for fires of different causes and that burned different vegetation types. Logistic regression models were developed by incorporating factors that provide information on weather, climate, fuel, topography and ignition sources. Analyses revealed that most fires occurred in summer, with human-caused fires primarily in spring and summer, and natural fires in summer. Summer was the most fire-prone season in forested wetlands, whereas fires in drylands mostly occurred during spring and summer. Fire probabilities were higher under severe weather conditions, in areas with higher annual rainfall, in forested wetlands and in areas with intermediate inundation frequencies. Special attention needs to be paid to the effects of vegetation type and inundation frequency on fire occurrence. Weather, climate&fuel and ignition sources were comparably important in explaining human-caused fire occurrence, whereas weather was more important than climate&fuel in explaining natural fire occurrence. Understandings obtained from this study can potentially support the planning of fire and forest management, as well as to supplement the relatively scarce knowledge on riverine wildfire occurrence. View Full-Text
Keywords: fire occurrence; ignition; riverine; wetland; inundation frequency fire occurrence; ignition; riverine; wetland; inundation frequency
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Zhang, Y.; Lim, S. Drivers of Wildfire Occurrence Patterns in the Inland Riverine Environment of New South Wales, Australia. Forests 2019, 10, 524.

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