Next Issue
Previous Issue

Table of Contents

Fire, Volume 1, Issue 2 (September 2018)

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Cover Story (view full-size image) The increasing incidence of catastrophic wildfires in temperate regions, in close proximity to [...] Read more.
View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-15
Export citation of selected articles as:
Open AccessArticle Historical Drivers and Contemporary Perceptions of Wildfire in a Post-Industrial Rural Landscape
Received: 1 August 2018 / Revised: 9 September 2018 / Accepted: 13 September 2018 / Published: 14 September 2018
Viewed by 754 | PDF Full-text (5178 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Placed-based fire management planning that considers historical patterns and processes as well as contemporary local knowledge is recognized as an alternative to broad-scale, regional approaches. In this paper, we used dendrochronology and an online survey to assess historical trends and contemporary perceptions of
[...] Read more.
Placed-based fire management planning that considers historical patterns and processes as well as contemporary local knowledge is recognized as an alternative to broad-scale, regional approaches. In this paper, we used dendrochronology and an online survey to assess historical trends and contemporary perceptions of wildfire, respectively, in the fire-prone anthracite coal region of northeastern Pennsylvania. We developed an annual index of fire occurrence and extent from 216 fire-scarred pitch pine (Pinus rigida) distributed across 9 ridgetop study sites for the period 1900–2016. In addition, we collected survey responses from area residents regarding contemporary perceptions of wildfire hazards and management. Our results show that 20th century wildfire activity was not associated with drought, but closely followed fluctuations in the anthracite coal industry, with increased fire occurrence and extent associated with times of severe job losses. Less extensive wildfire continues to occur frequently, with area residents recognizing the need for fuel management (i.e., prescribed fire) and an increase in resources allocated to wildfire prevention and management as well as trash disposal and recycling programs. Our research represents one example of an integrated approach to informing sustainable fire management that considers the link between historical patterns and contemporary perceptions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land-Use and Fire around the World from the Past to the Present)
Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessPerspective Advancing the Science of Wildland Fire Dynamics Using Process-Based Models
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 29 August 2018 / Accepted: 31 August 2018 / Published: 5 September 2018
Viewed by 502 | PDF Full-text (380 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As scientists and managers seek to understand fire behavior in conditions that extend beyond the limits of our current empirical models and prior experiences, they will need new tools that foster a more mechanistic understanding of the processes driving fire dynamics and effects.
[...] Read more.
As scientists and managers seek to understand fire behavior in conditions that extend beyond the limits of our current empirical models and prior experiences, they will need new tools that foster a more mechanistic understanding of the processes driving fire dynamics and effects. Here we suggest that process-based models are powerful research tools that are useful for investigating a large number of emerging questions in wildland fire sciences. These models can play a particularly important role in advancing our understanding, in part, because they allow their users to evaluate the potential mechanisms and interactions driving fire dynamics and effects from a unique perspective not often available through experimentation alone. For example, process-based models can be used to conduct experiments that would be impossible, too risky, or costly to do in the physical world. They can also contribute to the discovery process by inspiring new experiments, informing measurement strategies, and assisting in the interpretation of physical observations. Ultimately, a synergistic approach where simulations are continuously compared to experimental data, and where experiments are guided by the simulations will profoundly impact the quality and rate of progress towards solving emerging problems in wildland fire sciences. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle An Empirical Model for the Effect of Wind on Fire Spread Rate
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 27 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 1 September 2018
Viewed by 1674 | PDF Full-text (2699 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Predicting wind-driven rate of fire spread (RoS) has been the aim of many studies. Still, a field-tested model for general use, regardless of vegetation type, is currently lacking. We develop an empirical model for wind-aided RoS from laboratory fires (n = 216),
[...] Read more.
Predicting wind-driven rate of fire spread (RoS) has been the aim of many studies. Still, a field-tested model for general use, regardless of vegetation type, is currently lacking. We develop an empirical model for wind-aided RoS from laboratory fires (n = 216), assuming that it depends mainly on fire-released energy and on the extension of flame over the fuel bed in still air, and that it can be obtained by multiplying RoS in no-wind and no-slope conditions by a factor quantifying the wind effect. Testing against independent laboratory and field data (n = 461) shows good agreement between observations and predictions. Our results suggest that the fuel bed density effect detected by other work may be a surrogate for the amount of fuel involved in combustion, which depends on fuel load. Because RoS under windless conditions is unaffected by fuel load, the involved mechanisms differ from wind-aided propagation. Compared to shallow fuel beds, the wind effect is usually modest in deep vegetation, because tall fuel complexes are dominated by live fuels (high moisture content) and flames extend less above the vegetation when fuel moisture is high. The present work warrants further inspection in a broader range of field conditions. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessEditorial Recognizing Women Leaders in Fire Science
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 11 August 2018 / Accepted: 16 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
Viewed by 2929 | PDF Full-text (332 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Across the breadth of fire science disciplines, women are leaders in fire research and development. We want to acknowledge some of these leaders to promote diversity across our disciplines. In Fire, we are also happy to announce a new Special Collection, through
[...] Read more.
Across the breadth of fire science disciplines, women are leaders in fire research and development. We want to acknowledge some of these leaders to promote diversity across our disciplines. In Fire, we are also happy to announce a new Special Collection, through which we will continue to acknowledge current and future Diversity Leaders in Fire Science by inviting contributions from the leaders in this editorial, among others. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Diversity Leaders in Fire Science)
Open AccessPerspective Bridging the Divide: Integrating Animal and Plant Paradigms to Secure the Future of Biodiversity in Fire-Prone Ecosystems
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 7 August 2018 / Accepted: 8 August 2018 / Published: 10 August 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 867 | PDF Full-text (3353 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Conserving animals and plants in fire-prone landscapes requires evidence of how fires affect modified ecosystems. Despite progress on this front, fire ecology is restricted by a dissonance between two dominant paradigms: ‘fire mosaics’ and ‘functional types’. The fire mosaic paradigm focuses on animal
[...] Read more.
Conserving animals and plants in fire-prone landscapes requires evidence of how fires affect modified ecosystems. Despite progress on this front, fire ecology is restricted by a dissonance between two dominant paradigms: ‘fire mosaics’ and ‘functional types’. The fire mosaic paradigm focuses on animal responses to fire events and spatial variation, whereas the functional type paradigm focuses on plant responses to recurrent fires and temporal variation. Fire management for biodiversity conservation requires input from each paradigm because animals and plants are interdependent and influenced by spatial and temporal dimensions of fire regimes. We propose that better integration of animal-based and plant-based approaches can be achieved by identifying common metrics that describe changes in multiple taxa; linking multiple components of the fire regime with animal and plant data; understanding plant-animal interactions; and incorporating spatial and temporal characteristics of fires into conservation management. Our vision for a more integrated fire ecology could be implemented via a collaborative and global network of research and monitoring sites, where measures of animals and plants are linked to real-time data on fire regimes. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Satellite Detection Limitations of Sub-Canopy Smouldering Wildfires in the North American Boreal Forest
Received: 27 June 2018 / Revised: 1 August 2018 / Accepted: 8 August 2018 / Published: 10 August 2018
Viewed by 456 | PDF Full-text (9804 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We develop a simulation model for prediction of forest canopy interception of upwelling fire radiated energy from sub-canopy smouldering vegetation fires. We apply this model spatially across the North American boreal forest in order to map minimum detectable sub-canopy smouldering fire size for
[...] Read more.
We develop a simulation model for prediction of forest canopy interception of upwelling fire radiated energy from sub-canopy smouldering vegetation fires. We apply this model spatially across the North American boreal forest in order to map minimum detectable sub-canopy smouldering fire size for three satellite fire detection systems (sensor and algorithm), broadly representative of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR) and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). We evaluate our results according to fire management requirements for “early detection” of wildland fires. In comparison to the historic fire archive (Canadian National Fire Database, 1980–2017), satellite data with a 1000 m pixel size used with an algorithm having a minimum MWIR channel BT elevation threshold of 5 and 3 K above background (e.g., MODIS or SLSTR) proves incapable of providing a sub-0.2 ha smouldering fire detection 70% and 45% of the time respectively, even assuming that the sensor overpassed the relevant location within the correct time window. By contrast, reducing the pixel area by an order of magnitude (e.g., 375 m pixels of VIIRS) and using a 3.5 K active fire detection threshold offers the potential for successfully detecting all fires when they are still below 0.2 ha. Our results represent a ‘theoretical best performance’ of remote sensing systems to detect sub-canopy smoldering fires early in their lifetime. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Fire and Its Impact on Land and Atmosphere)
Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessConcept Paper Can Air Quality Management Drive Sustainable Fuels Management at the Temperate Wildland–Urban Interface?
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 3 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 9 August 2018
Viewed by 794 | PDF Full-text (4870 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable fire management has eluded all industrial societies. Given the growing number and magnitude of wildfire events, prescribed fire is being increasingly promoted as the key to reducing wildfire risk. However, smoke from prescribed fires can adversely affect public health. We propose that
[...] Read more.
Sustainable fire management has eluded all industrial societies. Given the growing number and magnitude of wildfire events, prescribed fire is being increasingly promoted as the key to reducing wildfire risk. However, smoke from prescribed fires can adversely affect public health. We propose that the application of air quality standards can lead to the development and adoption of sustainable fire management approaches that lower the risk of economically and ecologically damaging wildfires while improving air quality and reducing climate-forcing emissions. For example, green fire breaks at the wildland–urban interface (WUI) can resist the spread of wildfires into urban areas. These could be created through mechanical thinning of trees, and then maintained by targeted prescribed fire to create biodiverse and aesthetically pleasing landscapes. The harvested woody debris could be used for pellets and other forms of bioenergy in residential space heating and electricity generation. Collectively, such an approach would reduce the negative health impacts of smoke pollution from wildfires, prescribed fires, and combustion of wood for domestic heating. We illustrate such possibilities by comparing current and potential fire management approaches in the temperate and environmentally similar landscapes of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada and the island state of Tasmania in Australia. Full article
Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle Did Fine Particulate Matter from the Summer 2016 Landscape Fires in Tasmania Increase Emergency Ambulance Dispatches? A Case Crossover Analysis
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 13 July 2018 / Accepted: 13 July 2018 / Published: 24 July 2018
Viewed by 560 | PDF Full-text (863 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
During summer in early 2016, over 70 landscape fires in Tasmania (Australia) caused several severe episodes of fire smoke across the island state. To assess the health impact of the fire smoke, a case crossover analysis was performed, which measured the association between
[...] Read more.
During summer in early 2016, over 70 landscape fires in Tasmania (Australia) caused several severe episodes of fire smoke across the island state. To assess the health impact of the fire smoke, a case crossover analysis was performed, which measured the association between increased concentrations of PM2.5 and emergency ambulance dispatches (EAD) from 1 January to 31 March 2016. Control days were matched by latitude and longitude, day of the week and calendar month. Exposure data were obtained from air quality monitoring stations at lag times of 1–48 h and for the 24-h mean on the same day and 1-day lag. Positive associations were observed between an increase of 10 µg/m3 in PM2.5 and EAD for stroke on the same day (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.02–1.19) and at 1-day lag (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.02–1.18). Furthermore, there were non-significant increases in breathing problems (OR 1.04, 95% CI 1.00–1.08) and diabetic problems (OR 1.11, 95% CI 0.99–1.22) at 1-day lag. The EAD for all causes were not increased. These findings will be used for ambulance service planning and public health risk communication in future landscape fire events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Fire Events, Ecosystem Resilience, and Human Well-Being)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessShort Note A Surface Observation Based Climatology of Diablo-Like Winds in California’s Wine Country and Western Sierra Nevada
Received: 23 May 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
Viewed by 564 | PDF Full-text (3051 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Diablo winds are dry and gusty north-northeasterly downslope windstorms that affect the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California. On the evening of 8 October 2017, Diablo winds contributed to the ignitions and rapid spread of the “Northern California firestorm”, including the Tubbs
[...] Read more.
Diablo winds are dry and gusty north-northeasterly downslope windstorms that affect the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California. On the evening of 8 October 2017, Diablo winds contributed to the ignitions and rapid spread of the “Northern California firestorm”, including the Tubbs Fire, which burned 2800 homes in Santa Rosa, resulting in 22 fatalities and $1.2 B USD in damages. We analyzed 18 years of data from a network of surface meteorological stations and showed that Diablo winds tend to occur overnight through early morning in fall, winter and spring. In addition to the area north of the San Francisco Bay Area, conditions similar to Diablo winds commonly occur in the western Sierra Nevada. Both of these areas are characterized by high wind speeds and low relative humidity, but they neither tend to be warmer than climatology nor have a higher gust factor, or ratio of wind gusts to mean wind speeds, than climatology. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessShort Note Assessing the Influence of Roads on Fire Ignition: Does Land Cover Matter?
Received: 7 June 2018 / Revised: 6 July 2018 / Accepted: 7 July 2018 / Published: 9 July 2018
Viewed by 500 | PDF Full-text (1188 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In human-affected fire environments, assessing the influence of human activities on the spatial distribution of wildfire ignitions is of paramount importance for fire management planning. Previous studies have shown that roads have significant effects on fire ignition. However, since different land cover classes
[...] Read more.
In human-affected fire environments, assessing the influence of human activities on the spatial distribution of wildfire ignitions is of paramount importance for fire management planning. Previous studies have shown that roads have significant effects on fire ignition. However, since different land cover classes are subject to different levels of ignition risk, roads in different land cover classes may differently affect fire ignition. The aim of this paper is thus to assess the influence of roads on fire ignition in selected land cover classes subjected to different levels of anthropogenic pressure in Sardinia (Italy). Our results show that fires are preferentially ignited close to roads in all land cover classes. However, the influence of roads is much stronger in less impacted land uses, where the availability of human-induced ignitions highly depends on the accessibility networks. Our approach represents a first step towards the systematic integration of interacting fire ignition drivers such as roads and land cover into fire risk analysis. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Historical Fire Regimes in Ponderosa Pine and Mixed-Conifer Landscapes of the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, USA, from Multiple Sources
Received: 28 May 2018 / Revised: 4 July 2018 / Accepted: 7 July 2018 / Published: 9 July 2018
Viewed by 571 | PDF Full-text (5757 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Reconstructing historical fire regimes is difficult at the landscape scale, but essential to determine whether modern fires are unnaturally severe. I synthesized evidence across 725,000 ha of montane forests in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, from forest atlases, forest-reserve reports, fire-scar studies, early
[...] Read more.
Reconstructing historical fire regimes is difficult at the landscape scale, but essential to determine whether modern fires are unnaturally severe. I synthesized evidence across 725,000 ha of montane forests in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, from forest atlases, forest-reserve reports, fire-scar studies, early reports, and newspaper accounts. Atlases mapped moderate- to high-severity fires during 1850–1909 (~60 years), and 86% of atlas area was attributable to 24 fire years. Historical fire rotations from atlases were mostly 225–360 years for high-severity fires and 133–185 years for moderate- to high-severity fires. Historical low-severity fire from tree-ring data at 33 sites revealed a median fire rotation of 31 years in ponderosa pine, 78 years in dry mixed-conifer, and 113 years in moist mixed-conifer forests. Only 15% of montane sites had “frequent-fire” forests with fire rotations <25 years that kept understory fuels at low levels. Moderate- to high-severity fire rotations were long enough to enable old-growth forests, but short enough to foster heterogeneous landscapes with expanses of recovering forests and openings. About 38–39% is still recovering from the 1850–1909 fires. Large, infrequent severe fires historically enhanced resilience to subsequent beetle outbreaks, droughts, and fires, but have burned at lower rates in the last few decades. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Fire Severity and Vegetation Recovery on Mine Site Rehabilitation Using WorldView-3 Imagery
Received: 6 April 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 2 July 2018 / Published: 3 July 2018
Viewed by 1460 | PDF Full-text (13591 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As open-cut coal mines progress towards closure, mining companies have an obligation to provide certainty to stakeholders that their rehabilitated landscapes have the capacity to withstand future disturbance impacts such as fire and drought. This paper describes the assessment of fire severity and
[...] Read more.
As open-cut coal mines progress towards closure, mining companies have an obligation to provide certainty to stakeholders that their rehabilitated landscapes have the capacity to withstand future disturbance impacts such as fire and drought. This paper describes the assessment of fire severity and recovery using WorldView-3 spectral indices following an experimental fire in a 19- to 21-year old coal mine rehabilitation in semi-arid Central Queensland, Australia. In a highly heterogeneous reconstructed environment, the differenced Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (dNDVI) outperformed the differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR) with an overall map accuracy of 65% and 58%, respectively. The combination of red and near infra-red multispectral bands proved more effective at classifying severity compared with the shortwave infra-red, particularly when pre-fire imagery was dominated by highly cured grasses (>70%) and post-fire imagery contained a high coverage of residual ash. Recovery trends using spectral indices demonstrate the trajectory towards vegetation recovery, with 62% of the burnt site demonstrating high regrowth in the first two years following fire. This is supported by in situ recovery trends of understory biomass suggesting that under the study conditions, the rehabilitated site has the capacity to withstand impacts from a wildfire and recover to pre-fire levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Fire and Its Impact on Land and Atmosphere)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessConcept Paper Wildfire Response Performance Measurement: Current and Future Directions
Received: 11 April 2018 / Revised: 12 June 2018 / Accepted: 16 June 2018 / Published: 24 June 2018
Viewed by 632 | PDF Full-text (1996 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, defines success in the wildland fire response environment as “safely achieving reasonable objectives with the least firefighter exposure necessary while enhancing stakeholder support for our management efforts”. However, persistent information and knowledge gaps challenge the agency’s
[...] Read more.
The Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, defines success in the wildland fire response environment as “safely achieving reasonable objectives with the least firefighter exposure necessary while enhancing stakeholder support for our management efforts”. However, persistent information and knowledge gaps challenge the agency’s ability to measure success in coming fire seasons. In this paper, we outline a roadmap to help fill these gaps, describing progress towards developing meaningful fire response key performance indicators (KPIs). We focus on characterizing suppression resource use and effectiveness as requisite initial steps towards reducing unnecessary exposure. Our intentions are to articulate the rationale for embracing KPIs for fire response operations, briefly review best practices as they relate to organizational performance measurement, and describe recent and emerging analysis techniques designed to ultimately improve responder exposure assessment. Specifically, we review tangible research products that could be operationalized as KPIs in the near future, and illustrate their calculation and interpretation for a set of large fires that occurred in the U.S. in 2017. To conclude, we offer thoughts on productive pathways forward with performance measurement. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessPerspective Embracing Complexity to Advance the Science of Wildland Fire Behavior
Received: 22 May 2018 / Revised: 19 June 2018 / Accepted: 21 June 2018 / Published: 24 June 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 795 | PDF Full-text (408 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Wildland fire behavior research has largely focused on the steady-state interactions between fuels and heat fluxes. Contemporary research is revealing new questions outside the bounds of this simplified approach. Here, we explore the complex interactions taking place beyond steady-state assumptions through acknowledging the
[...] Read more.
Wildland fire behavior research has largely focused on the steady-state interactions between fuels and heat fluxes. Contemporary research is revealing new questions outside the bounds of this simplified approach. Here, we explore the complex interactions taking place beyond steady-state assumptions through acknowledging the manufactured separation of research disciplines in fire science and the dynamic interactions that unfold when these separations are removed. Through a series of examples spanning at least four research disciplines and three ranges of spatial scale, we illustrate that by precisely defining parameters in a way that holds across scales and relaxing one steady-state simplification, we begin to capture the inherent variability that has largely eluded the fire behavior community. Through exploring examples of “deep interdependence,” we make the case that fire behavior science is well equipped to launch forward into more complex lines of inquiry. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Spatial Distribution of Wildfires Ignited under Katabatic versus Non-Katabatic Winds in Mediterranean Southern California USA
Received: 24 May 2018 / Revised: 18 June 2018 / Accepted: 19 June 2018 / Published: 21 June 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1270 | PDF Full-text (1453 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Wildfires are a major hazard to humans in the southern California Mediterranean ecosystem and improving our understanding and delineation of different fire regimes is critical to mitigating wildfire-related hazards. Recent research has demonstrated that there are two distinct fire regimes in this region
[...] Read more.
Wildfires are a major hazard to humans in the southern California Mediterranean ecosystem and improving our understanding and delineation of different fire regimes is critical to mitigating wildfire-related hazards. Recent research has demonstrated that there are two distinct fire regimes in this region based on the presence or absence of katabatic winds (primarily Santa Ana winds) concurrent with the fire. Here, we expand the katabatic wind category to include Sundowner winds along the Santa Barbara front range and analyze the spatial relationships and difference in ignition sources between fires associated with katabatic and non-katabatic wind events from 1948–2017. We found distinct spatial extents for katabatic versus non-katabatic fires, with areas of the higher number of repeat fires generally associated with one fire type or the other. These spatial delineations were consistent with prior analyses of katabatic wind patterns and were also related to the climatology of marine influences across the region. Finally, we contextualize the burn perimeter of the 2017 Thomas Fire, the largest fire in modern California history, relative to spatial patterns of katabatic and non-katabatic fires. The 2017 Thomas Fire began during the longest Santa Ana event in the last 70 years in an area that has been burned repeatedly by Santa Ana fires. However, the Thomas Fire ultimately burned into a region where there were no prior Santa Ana fires. The spatial delineation of two relatively distinct fire regimes is critical to making management decisions, such as where to locate suppression resources at critical times and where fuel treatments might be most effective. However, the anomalous pattern of the Thomas Fire also points to the potential for changes in anthropogenic and environmental factors to disrupt historical spatial patterns and suggests that spatial patterns of fire regimes are themselves prospective metrics of global change. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Back to Top