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Title: Spatial controls of occurrence and spread of wildfires in the Missouri Ozark Highlands

Author: Yang, Jian; He, Hong S.; Shifley, Stephen R.;

Date: 2008

Source: Ecological Society of America: Ecological Applications. 18: 1212-1225.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Understanding spatial controls on wildfires is important when designing adaptive fire management plans and optimizing fuel treatment locations on a forest landscape. Previous research about this topic focused primarily on spatial controls for fire origin locations alone. Fire spread and behavior were largely overlooked. This paper contrasts the relative importance of biotic, abiotic, and anthropogenic constraints on the spatial pattern of fire occurrence with that on burn probability (i.e., the probability that fire will spread to a particular location). Spatial point pattern analysis and landscape succession fire model (LANDIS) were used to create maps to show the contrast. We quantified spatial controls on both fire occurrence and fire spread in the Midwest Ozark Highlands region, USA. This area exhibits a typical anthropogenic surface fire regime. We found that (1) human accessibility and land ownership were primary limiting factors in shaping clustered fire origin locations; (2) vegetation and topography had a negligible influence on fire occurrence in this anthropogenic regime; (3) burn probability was higher in grassland and open woodland than in closed-canopy forest, even though fire occurrence density was less in these vegetation types; and (4) biotic and abiotic factors were secondary descriptive ingredients for determining the spatial patterns of burn probability. This study demonstrates how fire occurrence and spread interact with landscape patterns to affect the spatial distribution of wildfire risk. The application of spatial point pattern data analysis would also be valuable to researchers working on landscape forest fire models to integrate historical ignition location patterns in fire simulation.

Keywords: burn probability, fire risk, LANDIS, Ozark Highlands, USA, spatial point pattern, wildfire

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Yang, Jian; He, Hong S.; Shifley, Stephen R. 2008. Spatial controls of occurrence and spread of wildfires in the Missouri Ozark Highlands. Ecological Society of America: Ecological Applications. 18: 1212-1225.


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