Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service
  
Treesearch

Research & Development Treesearch

 
Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Northern
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help
 

Science.gov - We Participate


USA.gov  Government Made Easy


Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.
20090-6090

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (621 KB)

Title: The potential and realized spread of wildfires across Canada

Author: Wang, Xianli; Parisien, Marc-Andre; Flannigan, Mike D.; Parks, Sean A.; Anderson, Kerry R.; Little, John M.; Taylor, Steve W.;

Date: 2014

Source: Global Change Biology. 20: 2518-2530.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Given that they can burn for weeks or months, wildfires in temperate and boreal forests may become immense (eg., 100 - 04 km2). However, during the period within which a large fire is 'active', not all days experience weather that is conducive to fire spread; indeed most of the spread occurs on a small proportion (e.g., 1 - 15 days) of not necessarily consecutive days during the active period. This study examines and compares the Canada-wide patterns in fireconducive weather ('potential' spread) and the spread that occurs on the ground ('realized' spread). Results show substantial variability in distributions of potential and realized spread days across Canada. Both potential and realized spread are higher in western than in eastern Canada; however, whereas potential spread generally decreases from south to north, there is no such pattern with realized spread. The realized-to-potential fire-spread ratio is considerably higher in northern Canada than in the south, indicating that proportionally more fire-conducive days translate into fire progression. An exploration of environmental correlates to spread show that there may be a few factors compensating for the lower potential spread in northern Canada: a greater proportion of coniferous (i.e., more flammable) vegetation, lesser human impacts (i.e., less fragmented landscapes), sufficient fire ignitions, and intense droughts. Because a linear relationship exists between the frequency distributions of potential spread days and realized spread days in a fire zone, it is possible to obtain one from the other using a simple conversion factor. Our methodology thus provides a means to estimate realized fire spread from weather-based data in regions where fire databases are poor, which may improve our ability to predict future fire activity.

Keywords: boreal forests, Canada, fire spread, MODIS fire detections, temperate forests, weather

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

XML: View XML

Citation:


Wang, Xianli; Parisien, Marc-Andre; Flannigan, Mike D.; Parks, Sean A.; Anderson, Kerry R.; Little, John M.; Taylor, Steve W. 2014. The potential and realized spread of wildfires across Canada. Global Change Biology. 20: 2518-2530.

 


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.