Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.03.011
Title (Primary) Environmental drivers and spatial dependency in wildfire ignition patterns of northwestern Patagonia
Author Mundo, I.A.; Wiegand, T.; Kanagaraj, R.; Kitzberger, T.
Journal Journal of Environmental Management
Year 2013
Department OESA
Volume 123
Page From 77
Page To 87
Language englisch
Keywords Habitat modelling; Natural and anthropogenic fire ignitions; Pair correlation function; Patagonia; Point pattern analysis; Wildfire management strategies
UFZ wide themes ru5
Abstract Fire management requires an understanding of the spatial characteristics of fire ignition patterns and how anthropogenic and natural factors influence ignition patterns across space. In this study we take advantage of a recent fire ignition database (855 points) to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the spatial pattern of fire ignitions in the western area of Neuquén province (57,649 km2), Argentina, for the 1992–2008 period. The objectives of our study were to better understand the spatial pattern and the environmental drivers of the fire ignitions, with the ultimate aim of supporting fire management. We conducted our analyses on three different levels: statistical “habitat” modelling of fire ignition (natural, anthropogenic, and all causes) based on an information theoretic approach to test several competing hypotheses on environmental drivers (i.e. topographic, climatic, anthropogenic, land cover, and their combinations); spatial point pattern analysis to quantify additional spatial autocorrelation in the ignition patterns; and quantification of potential spatial associations between fires of different causes relative to towns using a novel implementation of the independence null model. Anthropogenic fire ignitions were best predicted by the most complex habitat model including all groups of variables, whereas natural ignitions were best predicted by topographic, climatic and land-cover variables. The spatial pattern of all ignitions showed considerable clustering at intermediate distances (<40 km) not captured by the probability of fire ignitions predicted by the habitat model. There was a strong (linear) and highly significant increase in the density of fire ignitions with decreasing distance to towns (<5 km), but fire ignitions of natural and anthropogenic causes were statistically independent. A two-dimensional habitat model that quantifies differences between ignition probabilities of natural and anthropogenic causes allows fire managers to delineate target areas for consideration of major preventive treatments, strategic placement of fuel treatments, and forecasting of fire ignition. The techniques presented here can be widely applied to situations where a spatial point pattern is jointly influenced by extrinsic environmental factors and intrinsic point interactions.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Mundo, I.A., Wiegand, T., Kanagaraj, R., Kitzberger, T. (2013):
Environmental drivers and spatial dependency in wildfire ignition patterns of northwestern Patagonia
J. Environ. Manage. 123 , 77 - 87