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A Conceptual Interpretation of the Drought Code of the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System
Article

Preceding Fall Drought Conditions and Overwinter Precipitation Effects on Spring Wildland Fire Activity in Canada

1
Graduate Department of Forestry, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto, 33 Willcocks Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3B3, Canada
2
Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, 1219 Queen St. E, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 2E5, Canada
3
Statistical and Actuarial Sciences, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond St., London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
4
Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, 51 General Services Building, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 May 2020 / Revised: 17 June 2020 / Accepted: 19 June 2020 / Published: 23 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boreal Fire-Fuels Interactions)
Spring fire activity has increased in parts of Canada, particularly in the west, prompting fire managers to seek indicators of potential activity before the fire season starts. The overwintering adjustment of the Canadian Fire Weather Index System’s Drought Code (DC) is a method to adjust and carry-over the previous season’s drought conditions into the spring and potentially point to what lies ahead. The occurrence of spring fires is most strongly influenced by moisture in fine fuels. We used a zero-inflated Poisson regression model to examine the impact of the previous end of season Drought Code (DCf) and overwinter precipitation (Pow) while accounting for the day-to-day variation in fine fuel moisture that drives ignition potential. Impacts of DCf and Pow on area burned and fire suppression effectiveness were also explored using linear and logistic regression frameworks. Eight fire management regions across the boreal forests were analyzed using data from 1979 to 2018. For the majority of regions, drier fall conditions resulted in more human-caused spring fires, but not in greater area burned or reduced suppression effectiveness. The influence of Pow was much more variable pointing to the conclusion that Pow alone is not a good indicator of spring drought conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: area burned; boreal forest; drought; fire suppression; fire danger; fire management; fuel moisture; number of fires; overwintering area burned; boreal forest; drought; fire suppression; fire danger; fire management; fuel moisture; number of fires; overwintering
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hanes, C.; Wotton, M.; Woolford, D.G.; Martell, D.L.; Flannigan, M. Preceding Fall Drought Conditions and Overwinter Precipitation Effects on Spring Wildland Fire Activity in Canada. Fire 2020, 3, 24. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire3020024

AMA Style

Hanes C, Wotton M, Woolford DG, Martell DL, Flannigan M. Preceding Fall Drought Conditions and Overwinter Precipitation Effects on Spring Wildland Fire Activity in Canada. Fire. 2020; 3(2):24. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire3020024

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hanes, Chelene, Mike Wotton, Douglas G. Woolford, David L. Martell, and Mike Flannigan. 2020. "Preceding Fall Drought Conditions and Overwinter Precipitation Effects on Spring Wildland Fire Activity in Canada" Fire 3, no. 2: 24. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire3020024

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