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Publication Information

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Title: Shift in fire-ecosystems and weather changes

Author: Finiza, Bongani;

Date: 2013

Source: In: González-Cabán, Armando, tech. coord. Proceedings of the fourth international symposium on fire economics, planning, and policy: climate change and wildfires. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-245 (English). Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 225-234

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: During recent decades too much focus fell on fire suppression and fire engineering methods. Little attention has been given to understanding the shift in the changing fire weather resulting from the global change in weather patterns. Weather change have gradually changed the way vegetation cover respond to fire occurrence and brought about changes in fire behavior and intensity . In the past two decades there has been an increase in the occurrence of catastrophic fires, fire fighters has lost their lives in the line of duty, the environment was degraded and the livelihood of many people has been damaged or destroyed. Fire season also seems to extend beyond the normal fire season making it difficult to confirm the duration of fire season. According to observations and recent reports across the globe, it was revealed that most wildfires managed to escape while fire fighters perceived that they had them under control. Some fires that escaped also resulted as a result of shortage of water and other basic resources. It is time to transform firefighting techniques and devise new strategies that will enable fire managers to prevent and take control of out of control fires. This should lead to savings on suppression costs and allow better application of money earmarked for fire management. Efforts to offset the results of wild fires should be refocused by adjusting fire activities to synchronize with changes in weather and to deal more effectively with an altered vegetation cover. Water is a scare resource with significant impacts on some countries in Africa such as South Africa, Morocco and Kenya; there are also other countries which are becoming water stressed at an increasing rate. These countries include the United Kingdom, Cameroon and Nigeria. Dry and wet seasons are becoming longer in some regions, resulting in vegetation cover that is starting to adapt and change. These changes might vary from a drier flashier vegetation where plants adapted to survive in drier conditions become more dominant (usually woody weeds), to a denser vegetation cover with a higher fuel load in wetter areas.

Keywords: Climate change, fire management, vegetation covers

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Finiza, Bongani. 2013. Shift in fire-ecosystems and weather changes. In: González-Cabán, Armando, tech. coord. Proceedings of the fourth international symposium on fire economics, planning, and policy: climate change and wildfires. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-245 (English). Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 225-234.

 


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