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Data from: Pyrogeography across the western Palearctic: A diversity of fire regimes

Digital.CSIC. Repositorio Institucional del CSIC
  • Pausas, J. G.
[Methods] We first defined eight large ecoregions based on their environment and vegetation: Mediterranean, Arid, Atlantic, Mountains, Boreal, Steppes, Continental, and Tundra. These ecoregions were defined by aggregating 81 WWF ecoregions with the help of the bioregions (https://www.oneearth.org/bioregions-2020/). We provide the shape files with these ecoregions.

Then we intersected each ecoregion with individual-fire data obtained from remote sensing hotspots to estimate fire regime parameters for each environment. Specifically, we computed the following fire statistics for each ecoregion and year (2001-2019): area burnt; mean fire size; fire intensity; fire season; fire patchiness (CV of the fire intensity in each fire); fire recurrence and pyrodiversity. This data was estimated based on individual-fire data provided in GlobFire (Artés et al. 2019) except fire intensity that was estimated using MODIS hotspots (Collection 6 Active Fire Products from Terra and Aqua satellites, dataset MCD14ML; downloaded from the University of Maryland, USA; period 2001-2021). Fire recurrence for each ecoregion was estimated as the number of times each patch was burnt. The pyrodiversity of each ecoregion (i.e., fire-caused landscape heterogeneity) was estimated as the Shannon diversity of fire patches, that is, considering the relative abundance (sizes) of fire-produced patches in each ecoregion. The data provided is the average by ecoregion and year, except for patchiness we provide the area of each patch in each ecoregion, and the number of times the patch burned. More details are provided in the original article.

[Usage Notes] The ecoregion map is in "shape" format and can be opened with most GIS softwares (e.g., QGIS). The data is provided as comma-delimited files (csv; ASCII) and can be opened with most softwares for numerical analysis (e.g. in R using the function read.csv) or with a spreadsheet (e.g., LibreOffice Spreadsheet)., We characterised fire regimes and estimated fire regime parameters (area burnt, size, intensity, season, patchiness, pyrodiversity) at broad spatial scales using remotely sensed individual-fire data. Specifically, we focused on the western part of the Palearctic realm, i.e., Europe, North Africa, and the Near East. We first divided the study area into eight large ecoregions based on their environment and vegetation (ecoregions): Mediterranean, Arid, Atlantic, Mountains, Boreal, Steppes, Continental, and Tundra. Then we intersected each ecoregion with individual-fire data obtained from remote sensing hotspots to estimate fire regime parameters for each environment. This allowed us to compute annual area burnt, fire size, fire intensity, fire season, fire patchiness, fire recurrence, and pyrodiversity for each ecoregion. We then related those fire parameters with the ecoregions’ climate and analysed the temporal trends in fire size. The results suggest that fire regime parameters vary across different environments (ecoregions). The Mediterranean had the largest, most intense, and most recurrent fires, but the Steppes had the largest burnt area. Arid ecosystems had the most extended fire season, Tundra had the patchiest fires, and Boreal forests had the earliest fires of the year. The spatial variability in fire regimes was largely explained by the variability of climate and vegetation, with a tendency for greater fire activity in the warmer ecoregions. There was also a temporal tendency for fires to become larger during the last two decades, especially in Arid and Continental environments. In conclusion, fire regime characteristics of each ecoregion are unique, with a tendency for greater fire activity in warmer environments, and for increasingly large fires in recent decades., European Commission, Award: GA 101003890 (fireUrisk)., Peer reviewed




Data from: Pyrogeography across the western Palearctic: A diversity of fire regimes

Digital.CSIC. Repositorio Institucional del CSIC
  • Pausas, J. G.
The ecoregion map is in "shape" format and can be opened with most GIS softwares (e.g., QGIS). The data is provided as comma-delimited files (csv; ASCII) and can be opened with most softwares for numerical analysis (e.g. in R using the function read.csv) or with a spreadsheet (e.g., LibreOffice Spreadsheet)., We characterised fire regimes and estimated fire regime parameters (area burnt, size, intensity, season, patchiness, pyrodiversity) at broad spatial scales using remotely sensed individual-fire data. Specifically, we focused on the western part of the Palearctic realm, i.e., Europe, North Africa, and the Near East. We first divided the study area into eight large ecoregions based on their environment and vegetation (ecoregions): Mediterranean, Arid, Atlantic, Mountains, Boreal, Steppes, Continental, and Tundra. Then we intersected each ecoregion with individual-fire data obtained from remote sensing hotspots to estimate fire regime parameters for each environment. This allowed us to compute annual area burnt, fire size, fire intensity, fire season, fire patchiness, fire recurrence, and pyrodiversity for each ecoregion. We then related those fire parameters with the ecoregions' climate and analysed the temporal trends in fire size. The results suggest that fire regime parameters vary across different environments (ecoregions). The Mediterranean had the largest, most intense, and most recurrent fires, but the Steppes had the largest burnt area. Arid ecosystems had the most extended fire season, Tundra had the patchiest fires, and Boreal forests had the earliest fires of the year. The spatial variability in fire regimes was largely explained by the variability of climate and vegetation, with a tendency for greater fire activity in the warmer ecoregions. There was also a temporal tendency for fires to become larger during the last two decades, especially in Arid and Continental environments. In conclusion, fire regime characteristics of each ecoregion are unique, with a tendency for greater fire activity in warmer environments, and for increasingly large fires in recent decades., Funding provided by: European Commission, Award Number: GA 101003890 (fireUrisk)., Peer reviewed




Pyrogeography across the western Palaearctic: A diversity of fire regimes

Digital.CSIC. Repositorio Institucional del CSIC
  • Pausas, J. G.
[Aim] The aim was to characterize fire regimes and estimate fire regime parameters (area burnt, size, intensity, season, patchiness and pyrodiversity) at broad spatial scales using remotely sensed individual-fire data., [Location] Western part of the Palaearctic realm (i.e., Europe, North Africa and the Near East)., [Time period] 2001–2021., [Methods] Initially, I divided the study area into eight large ecoregions based on their environment and vegetation: Mediterranean, Arid, Atlantic, Mountains, Boreal, Steppes, Continental and Tundra. Next, I intersected each predefined ecoregion with individual-fire data obtained from remote sensing hotspots to estimate fire regime parameters for each environment. This allowed me to compute annual area burnt, fire size, fire intensity, fire season, fire patchiness, fire recurrence and pyrodiversity for each ecoregion. I related those fire parameters to the climate of the ecoregions and analysed the temporal trends in fire size., [Results] Fire regime parameters varied across different environments (ecoregions). The Mediterranean had the largest, most intense and most recurrent fires, but the Steppes had the largest burnt area. Arid ecosystems had the most extended fire season, Tundra had the patchiest fires, and Boreal forests had the earliest fires of the year. The spatial variability in fire regimes was largely explained by the variability of climate and vegetation, with a tendency for greater fire activity in the warmer ecoregions. There was also a temporal tendency for large fires to become larger during the last two decades, especially in Arid and Continental environments., [Main conclusion] The fire regime characteristics of each ecoregion are unique, with a tendency for greater fire activity in warmer environments. In addition, fires have been increasing in size during recent decades., This work was inspired by meetings of the FIRELink Cost Action (European Commission CA18135) and performed under the framework of the fireUrisk project (European Commission GA 101003890; European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme)., Peer reviewed




Towards an Integrated Approach to Wildfire Risk Assessment: When, Where, What and How May the Landscapes Burn

Digital.CSIC. Repositorio Institucional del CSIC
  • Chuvieco, Emilio
  • Yebra, Marta
  • Martino, Simone
  • Thonicke, Kirsten
  • Gómez-Giménez, Marta
  • San-Miguel, Jesus
  • Oom, Duarte
  • Velea, Ramona
  • Mouillot, Florent
  • Molina, Juan R.
  • Miranda, Ana I.
  • Lopes, Diogo
  • Salis, Michele
  • Bugaric, Marin
  • Sofiev, Mikhail
  • Kadantsev, Evgeny
  • Gitas, Ioannis Z.
  • Stavrakoudis, Dimitris
  • Eftychidis, George
  • Bar-Massada, Avi
  • Neidermeier, Alex
  • Pampanoni, Valerio
  • Pettinari, M. Lucrecia
  • Arrogante-Funes, Fatima
  • Ochoa, Clara
  • Moreira, Bruno
  • Viegas, Domingo
This paper presents a review of concepts related to wildfire risk assessment, including the determination of fire ignition and propagation (fire danger), the extent to which fire may spatially overlap with valued assets (exposure), and the potential losses and resilience to those losses (vulnerability). This is followed by a brief discussion of how these concepts can be integrated and connected to mitigation and adaptation efforts. We then review operational fire risk systems in place in various parts of the world. Finally, we propose an integrated fire risk system being developed under the FirEUrisk European project, as an example of how the different risk components (including danger, exposure and vulnerability) can be generated and combined into synthetic risk indices to provide a more comprehensive wildfire risk assessment, but also to consider where and on what variables reduction efforts should be stressed and to envisage policies to be better adapted to future fire regimes. Climate and socio-economic changes entail that wildfires are becoming even more a critical environmental hazard; extreme fires are observed in many areas of the world that regularly experience fire, yet fire activity is also increasing in areas where wildfires were previously rare. To mitigate the negative impacts of fire, those responsible for managing risk must leverage the information available through the risk assessment process, along with an improved understanding on how the various components of risk can be targeted to improve and optimize the many strategies for mitigation and adaptation to an increasing fire risk., This paper is part of the FirEUrisk project research funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under Grant Agreement No. 101003890. MS and EK acknowledge the support of the HE project EXHAUSTION (grant 820655) and the Academy of Finland HEATCOST (grant 334798) to the global-scale developments. FAF acknowledges the support of the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (grant #PRE2019-089208).




Searching the flames: Trends in global and regional public interest in wildfires

Digital.CSIC. Repositorio Institucional del CSIC
  • Santín, Cristina
  • Moustakas, Aristides
  • Doerr, Stefan H.
Interactions between humans and wildfires have increased in many regions over the last decades driven by climate and land-use changes. A shift towards more adaptive fire management and policies is urgently needed but remains difficult to achieve. Better understanding of public interest in wildfire can facilitate this transition, as the public is a key driver for policy decisions. We used Google Trends to assess temporal patterns (2004–2020) in public interest on wildfires worldwide and in five case study countries (Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Portugal, USA). Public interest consistently shows a cyclic pattern with low background and short-lasting spikes during fire seasons and catastrophic events. Wildfires that receive the most interest worldwide are located in Western countries, especially the USA. There is usually high demand for news on wildfires when spikes in interest happen. Overall global interest in wildfire has risen twice: first for a short period in 2007–2008, concomitant to catastrophic wildfires in California, and again since 2017, probably triggered by a series of catastrophic fire events around the globe. Nevertheless, public interest in wildfire is low when compared with socioeconomically more costly earthquakes or hurricanes. The short and seasonal interest in wildfire may present an important obstacle to the implementation of wildfire mitigation policies that require year-round approaches. However, the fact that the public uses the internet to obtain basic knowledge about wildfire functioning and impacts, especially during the interest spikes, can facilitate targeting awareness campaigns. These could be not only about wildfires but also about broader related environmental issues., This work was supported by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (FIRElinks COST Action grant no. CA18135). C. S. received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under the Marie Skłodowska‐Curie Grant Agreement 663830 and the Spanish ‘Ramon y Cajal’ programme, Ref. N. RYC2018–025797-I. S.D. was supported by the H2020 grant FirEUrisk, Ref. 101003890., Peer reviewed




Modeling Wind Adjustment Factor for a prescribed burn plan. An application to Mediterranean stands in Southern Europe

Helvia. Repositorio Institucional de la Universidad de Córdoba
  • Ortega, Macarena
  • Muñoz Navarro, Juan Antonio
  • Molina, Juan Ramón
Embargado hasta 15/11/2025, Wind speed, which is significantly affected by terrain and vegetation, is one of the most crucial factors in terms of fire spread. Fire simulators compute wind speed as open 10-m wind speed multiplied by the Wind Adjustment Factor (WAF). In forested sites, the sub-canopy wind speed plays a fundamental role in low intensity fire or prescribed burn, and therefore, in prescribed burn plan. This research aims to estimate a WAF model based on in-stand wind speed at 2-m above ground and forest characteristics. We use Chi-square Automatic Interaction Detection to classify WAF according to the most influential stand variables.

Fifty-seven sampling sites were established for WAF training and testing. WAF ranged from 0.03 to 0.84, showing significant differences due to stand characteristics. Our findings showed that canopy cover is the variable with the greatest influence on WAF. On the one hand, the non-linear WAF model reached a coefficient of determination (R2) of 90 %. On the other hand, a decision tree performed four decision nodes based on canopy cover, stand height, and stand density. These approaches propose a novel method to the identification of WAF for fuel treatment and prescribed burning implementation, avoiding the errors that could be generated using fixed WAF for each fuel model. The proposed model can be used to simulate the effect of different canopy management alternatives, both fuel treatments and timber harvesting, in wind speed at 2-m height.




Fireline production rate of handcrews in wildfires of the Spanish Mediterranean region

Helvia. Repositorio Institucional de la Universidad de Córdoba
  • Ortega, Macarena
  • Rodríguez y Silva, Francisco
  • Molina, Juan Ramón
Background. Handcrews dig handlines to bare mineral soil for fire containment. Increasing the amount of firefighting resources is insufficient to mitigate wildfire damage or decrease the number of large fires. Aims. This study aims to empirically assess handcrew fireline production rates through direct monitoring of suppression actions on active wildfires. Methods. A database was created from information gathered by crew supervisors during wildfires in southern Spain between 2014 and 2019. Fireline production rates were calculated from working time and handline length. Key results. Mean fireline production rate during direct attack in chaparral was 0.33 m min−1 firefighter−1, whereas production in timber litter was 1.06 m min−1 firefighter−1. However, fireline production rate was considerably reduced during indirect attack, in fuel types with high fuel loading, on wildfires larger than 50 ha, after 3 h of sustained suppression action,
with crews of more than nine firefighters, in unsuccessful fire containment, and when the ground crews lacked aerial support. Conclusions. Our results suggest mean fireline production rates need to be modified by working conditions and psychological variables to better inform efficient acquisition and allocation of resources. Implications. Knowing the operating capability of firefighting resources is important to fire managers for reducing uncertainty and guaranteeing the safety and effectiveness of suppression




Integrating geospatial wildfire models to delineate landscape management zones and inform decision-making in Mediterranean areas

Zaguán. Repositorio Digital de la Universidad de Zaragoza
  • Rodrigues Mimbrero, M.
  • Zúñiga-Antón, M.
  • Alcasena, F.
  • Gelabert, P.
  • Vega-Garcia, C.
Despite the abundant firefighting resources deployed to reinforce the fire exclusion policy, extreme events continue to cause substantial losses in Mediterranean regions. These catastrophic wildfires question the merely-reactive response, while science-based decision-making advocates for a paradigm shift towards a long-term solution to coexist with fire. Comprehensive management solutions integrate multiple efforts to minimize the number of escaped wildfires in fire ignition hotspots, restrict large fire spread across the landscape, and prevent losses to valued resources and assets. This study develops a wildfire management zone (WMZ) delineation framework to inform decision-making in fire-prone Mediterranean landscapes. First, we combined modeling outcomes of wildfire occurrence, initial attack success, and wildfire transmission to communities to segment the landscape in WMZ blocks. We assumed the worst-case scenario in terms of fire simultaneity and weather conditions to implement the models. The geospatial outcomes were assembled and classified into four primary archetypes, and we then designated the most suitable risk mitigation strategies for each management unit. The WMZs included (1) comprehensive management, (2) human ignition prevention, (3) intensive fuel management, and (4) fire reintroduction areas. Finally, we downscaled within zones to assign specific management prescriptions to the different areas. The results were presented in a set of cross-scale maps to assist in designing risk management plans and raise social awareness. The methodological framework developed in this study may be valuable to help mitigate risk in fire-prone Mediterranean areas, but also in other regions in which similar total suppression policies fail to reduce catastrophic wildfire losses. © 2021 The Author(s)




Modelling the daily probability of lightning-caused ignition in the Iberian Peninsula

Zaguán. Repositorio Digital de la Universidad de Zaragoza
  • Rodrigues, Marcos
  • Jiménez-Ruano, Adrián
  • Gelabert, Pere Joan
  • de Dios, Víctor Resco
  • Torres, Luis
  • Ribalaygua, Jaime
  • Vega-García, Cristina
Background. Lightning is the most common origin of natural fires, being strongly linked to specific synoptic conditions associated with atmospheric instability, such as dry thunderstorms; dry
fuels are required for ignition to take place and for subsequent propagation. Aims. The aim was to predict the daily probability of ignition by exploiting a large dataset of lightning and fire data to anticipate ignition over the entire Iberian Peninsula. Methods. We trained and tested a machine learning model using lightning strikes (>17 million) in the period 2009–2015. For each lightning
strike, we extracted information relating to fuel condition, structural features of vegetation, topography, and the specific characteristics of the strikes (polarity, intensity and flash density).
Key results. Naturally triggered ignitions are typically initiated at higher elevations (above 1000 m above sea level) under conditions of low dead fuel moisture (<10–13%) and moderate live moisture
content (Drought Code > 300). Negative-polarity lightning strikes (−10 kA) appear to trigger fires more frequently. Conclusions and implications. Our approach was able to provide ignition forecasts at multiple temporal and spatial scales, thus enhancing forest fire risk assessment systems.




Drivers and implications of the extreme 2022 wildfire season in Southwest Europe

Zaguán. Repositorio Digital de la Universidad de Zaragoza
  • Rodrigues, Marcos
  • Cunill Camprubí, Àngel
  • Balaguer-Romano, Rodrigo
  • Coco Megía, Celso J.
  • Castañares, Francisco
  • Ruffault, Julien
  • Fernandes, Paulo M.
  • Resco de Dios, Víctor
Wildfire is a common phenomenon in Mediterranean countries but the 2022 fire season has been extreme in southwest Europe (Portugal, Spain and France). Here we provide a preliminary but comprehensive analysis of 2022's wildfire season in southwest Europe. Burned area has exceeded the 2001–2021 median by a factor of 52 in some regions and large wildfires (>500 ha) started to occur in June–July, earlier than the traditional fire season. These anomalies were associated with record-breaking values of fuel dryness, atmospheric water demand and pyrometeorological conditions. Live fuel moisture content was below the historical minima for almost 50 % of the season in some regions. A few large wildfires were responsible for 82 % of the burned area and, in turn, 47 % of the area burned occurred in protected areas. Shrublands, transitional woodlands and conifer forests (but not eucalypt plantations) were the land cover types most affected by extreme fires. As climate change intensifies, we can expect such fire seasons to become the new normal in large parts of the continent, potentially leading to major negative impacts on rural economies. These results highlight the need for landscape level fuel management also in protected areas, to avoid fire-induced biodiversity losses and landscape scale degradation. Our results have important policy implications and indicate that fire prevention should be explicitly addressed within continental forest legislation and strategies.