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Wildfires and global change

June 3, 2021

No single factor produces wildfires; rather, they occur when fire thresholds (ignitions, fuels, and drought) are crossed. Anomalous weather events may lower these thresholds and thereby enhance the likelihood and spread of wildfires. Climate change increases the frequency with which some of these thresholds are crossed, extending the duration of the fire season and increasing the frequency of dry years. However, climate-related factors do not explain all of the complexity of global fire-regime changes, as altered ignition patterns (eg human behavior) and fuel structures (eg land-use changes, fire suppression, drought-induced dieback, fragmentation) are extremely important. When the thresholds are crossed, the size of a fire will largely depend on the duration of the fire weather and the extent of the available area with continuous fuels in the landscape.

Publication Year 2021
Title Wildfires and global change
DOI 10.1002/fee.2359
Authors Juli G. Pausas, Jon Keeley
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Index ID 70221160
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center