09 Sep 2022
09 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Effects of fire danger indexes and land cover on fire growth in Peru

Harry Podschwit1, William Jolly1, Ernesto Alvarado2, Andrea Markos3, Satyam Verma2, Sebastian Barreto-Rivera3, Catherine Tobón-Cruz3, and Blanca Ponce-Vigo3 Harry Podschwit et al.
  • 1US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, 5775 Highway 10 West, Missoula, MT, USA
  • 2School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
  • 3US Forest Service, International Programs, 1 Thomas Circle, NW Suite 400 Washington D.C., U.S.A.

Abstract. Statistical analyses of wildfire growth are rarely undertaken, particularly in South America. In this study, we describe a simple and intuitive difference equation model of wildfire growth that uses a spread parameter to control the radial speed of the modeled fire and an extinguish parameter to control the rate at which the burning perimeter becomes inactive. Using data from the GlobFire project, we estimate these two parameters for 1003 large, multi-day fires in Peru between 2001 and 2020. For four fire-prone ecoregions within Peru, a set of 18 generalized linear models are fit for each parameter that use fire danger indexes and land cover covariates. Akaike weights are used to identify the best-approximating model and quantify model uncertainty. We find that, in most cases, increased spread rates and extinguish rates are positively associated with fire danger indexes. When fire danger indexes are included in the models, the spread component is usually the best choice. We also find that forest cover is negatively associated with spread rates and extinguish rates in tropical forests, and that anthropogenic cover is negatively associated with spread rates in xeric ecoregions. We explore potential applications of this model to wildfire risk assessment and burned area forecasting.

Harry Podschwit et al.

Status: open (until 21 Oct 2022)

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Harry Podschwit et al.

Harry Podschwit et al.


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Short summary
We developed a model of fire spread that assumes that fire spreads in all directions at a constant speed and is extinguished at a constant rate. The model was fitted to 1003 fires in Peru between 2001 and 2020 using satellite burned area data from the GlobFire project. We fitted statistical models that predicted the spread and extinguish rates based on weather and land cover variables, and found that these variables were good predictors of the spread and extinguish rates.