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Forecasting distribution of numbers of large fires

January 1, 2014

Systems to estimate forest fire potential commonly utilize one or more indexes that relate to expected fire behavior; however they indicate neither the chance that a large fire will occur, nor the expected number of large fires. That is, they do not quantify the probabilistic nature of fire danger. In this work we use large fire occurrence information from the Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity project, and satellite and surface observations of fuel conditions in the form of the Fire Potential Index, to estimate two aspects of fire danger: 1) the probability that a 1 acre ignition will result in a 100+ acre fire, and 2) the probabilities of having at least 1, 2, 3, or 4 large fires within a Predictive Services Area in the forthcoming week. These statistical processes are the main thrust of the paper and are used to produce two daily national forecasts that are available from the U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation and Science Center and via the Wildland Fire Assessment System. A validation study of our forecasts for the 2013 fire season demonstrated good agreement between observed and forecasted values.

Publication Year 2014
Title Forecasting distribution of numbers of large fires
Authors Jeffery C. Eidenshink, Haiganoush K. Preisler, Stephen Howard, Robert E. Burgan
Publication Type Book
Publication Subtype Conference publication
Index ID 70110819
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center