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 (3.0 MB bytes)

Title: The spatially varying influence of humans on fire probability in North America

Author: Parisien, Marc-Andre; Miller, Carol; Parks, Sean A.; DeLancey, Evan R.; Robinne, Francois-Nicolas; Flannigan, Mike D.;

Date: 2016

Source: Environmental Research Letters. 11: 075005.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description:

Humans affect fire regimes by providing ignition sources in some cases, suppressing wildfires in others, and altering natural vegetation in ways that may either promote or limit fire. InNorthAmerica, several studies have evaluated the effects of society on fire activity; however, most studies have been regional or subcontinental in scope and used different data and methods, thereby making continent-wide comparisons difficult.We circumvent these challenges by investigating the broad-scale impact of humans on fire activity using parallel statistical models of fire probability from1984 to 2014 as a function of climate, enduring features (topography and percent nonfuel), lightning, and three indices of human activity (population density, an integrated metric of human activity [Human Footprint Index], and a measure of remoteness [roadless volume]) across equally spaced regions of theUnited States and Canada.Through a statistical control approach,whereby we account for the effect of other explanatory variables, we found evidence of non-negligible human-wildfire association across the entire continent, even in the most sparsely populated areas. A surprisingly coherent negative relationship between fire activity and humans was observed across theUnited States and Canada: fire probability generally diminishes with increasing human influence. Intriguing exceptions to this relationship are the continent’s least disturbed areas,where fewer humans equate to less fire. These remote areas, however, also often have lower lightning densities, leading us to believe that they may be ignition limited at the spatiotemporal scale of the study.Our results suggest that there are few purely natural fire regimes inNorthAmerica today. Consequently, projections of future fire activity should consider human impacts on fire regimes to ensure sound adaptation and mitigation measures in fire-prone areas.

Keywords: wildfire, North America, anthropogenic influence, climate, topography, lightning

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:


Parisien, Marc-Andre; Miller, Carol; Parks, Sean A.; DeLancey, Evan R.; Robinne, Francois-Nicolas; Flannigan, Mike D. 2016. The spatially varying influence of humans on fire probability in North America. Environmental Research Letters. 11: 075005.

 


 [ 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.