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Title: Landscape-scale patterns of fire and drought on the high plains, USA

Author: Ford, Paulette; Jackson, Charles; Reeves, Matthew; Bird, Benjamin; Turner, Dave;

Date: 2015

Source: In: Sustainable use of grassland resources for forage production, biodiversity and environmental protection; proceedings, XXIII International Grassland Congress; 2015 November 20-24; New Delhi, India. 3 p.

Publication Series: Paper (invited, offered, keynote)

Description:

We examine 31 years (1982-2012) of temperature, precipitation and natural wildfire occurrence data for Federal and Tribal lands to determine landscape-scale patterns of drought and fire on the southern and central High Plains of the western United States. The High Plains states of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming have been in the midst of ongoing extreme drought, experiencing below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures for the past several years. Climate change is predicted to have multiple effects on fire regimes. Longer periods of drought conditions, coupled with hot, dry and windy weather, provide the conditions for wildfire (Ford et al., 2012), and megafires, or large-scale fires that significantly exceed those of recent decades are now occurring in grassland, shrubland and desert ecosystems (Chambers and Pellant, 2008). Our objective is to relate the frequency and size of wildfires to precipitation, temperature and latitudinal gradients to increase understanding of wildfire and drought interactions on the Great Plains in a changing climate.

Keywords: climate, drought, fire, Great Plains

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Citation:


Ford, Paulette; Jackson, Charles; Reeves, Matthew; Bird, Benjamin; Turner, Dave. 2015. Landscape-scale patterns of fire and drought on the high plains, USA. In: Sustainable use of grassland resources for forage production, biodiversity and environmental protection; proceedings, XXIII International Grassland Congress; 2015 November 20-24; New Delhi, India. 3 p.

 


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