Wildfires are a major environmental, economic, and social threat. In Central Côte d’Ivoire, they are among the biggest environmental and forestry problems during the dry season. National authorities do not have tools and methods to predict spatial and temporal fire proneness over large areas. This study, based on the use of satellite historical data, aims to develop an appropriate model to forecast wildfire occurrence and burnt areas in each ecoregion of the N’Zi River Watershed. We used an autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model to simulate and forecast the number of wildfires and burnt area time series in each ecoregion. Nineteen years of monthly datasets were trained and tested. The model performance assessment combined Ljung–Box statistics, residuals, and autocorrelation analysis coupled with cross-validation using three forecast errors—namely, root mean square error, mean absolute error, and mean absolute scaled error—and observed–simulated data analysis. The results showed that the ARIMA models yielded accurate forecasts of the test dataset in all ecoregions and highlighted the effectiveness of the ARIMA models to forecast the total number of wildfires and total burnt area estimation in the future. The forecasts of possible wildfire occurrence and extent of damages in the next four years will help decision-makers and wildfire managers to take actions to reduce the exposure and the vulnerability of ecosystems and local populations to current and future pyro-climatic hazards.
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