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Open AccessArticle

Effect of Climate Change Projections on Forest Fire Behavior and Values-at-Risk in Southwestern Greece

1
Department of Geography, University of the Aegean, 811 00 Mytilene, Greece
2
Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, 152 36 Athens, Greece
3
Navarino Environmental Observatory, Costa Navarino 240 01, Messinia, Greece
4
Research Center for Atmospheric Physics and Climatology, Academy of Athens, 106 72 Athens, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jianbang Gan
Forests 2015, 6(6), 2214-2240; https://doi.org/10.3390/f6062214
Received: 21 January 2015 / Revised: 2 June 2015 / Accepted: 11 June 2015 / Published: 19 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Forest Fire)
Climate change has the potential to influence many aspects of wildfire behavior and risk. During the last decade, Greece has experienced large-scale wildfire phenomena with unprecedented fire behavior and impacts. In this study, thousands of wildfire events were simulated with the Minimum Travel Time (MTT) fire growth algorithm (called Randig) and resulted in spatial data that describe conditional burn probabilities, potential fire spread and intensity in Messinia, Greece. Present (1961–1990) and future (2071–2100) climate projections were derived from simulations of the KNMI regional climate model RACMO2, under the SRES A1B emission scenario. Data regarding fuel moisture content, wind speed and direction were modified for the different projection time periods to be used as inputs in Randig. Results were used to assess the vulnerability changes for certain values-at-risk of the natural and human-made environment. Differences in wildfire risk were calculated and results revealed that larger wildfires that resist initial control are to be expected in the future, with higher conditional burn probabilities and intensities for extensive parts of the study area. The degree of change in the modeled Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index for the two time periods also revealed an increasing trend in frequencies of higher values for the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; wildfires; risk; racmo2; fire weather index; minimum travel time; behaveplus; randig climate change; wildfires; risk; racmo2; fire weather index; minimum travel time; behaveplus; randig
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Kalabokidis, K.; Palaiologou, P.; Gerasopoulos, E.; Giannakopoulos, C.; Kostopoulou, E.; Zerefos, C. Effect of Climate Change Projections on Forest Fire Behavior and Values-at-Risk in Southwestern Greece. Forests 2015, 6, 2214-2240.

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