Climatic water balance and regional fire years in the Pacific Northwest, USA: Linking regional climate and fire at landscape scales
Littell, J.S., and R. Gwozdz. 2011. Climatic water balance and regional fire years in the Pacific Northwest, USA: Linking regional climate and fire at landscape scales. Chapter 5, pp. 117-139. In McKenzie, D., C.M. Miller, and D.A. Falk (eds.), The Landscape Ecology of Fire, Ecological Studies 213, Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, doi 10.1007/978-94-007-0301-8_5
The relationships between interannual climate and wildfire have been explored at local, regional and sub-continental scales through both modern records and dendrochronological fire history records. This work points to strong influences of antecedent precipitation and temperature on the area burned by fire. However, relatively little work has examined the specific physical mechanisms that relate fire and climate vie vegetation. In this chapter, we extend previous work on climate and fire in the Pacific Northwest by investigating the different role of climate in different vegetation types in PNW ecosections (smaller units than ecoregions). We also use climatic variables more closely related to the production and drying of fuel than temperature and precipitation (potential evapotranspiration, actual evapotranspiration, and water balance deficit) as predictors in linear models of area burned. Finally, we link the observed relationships between climate and fire to landscape ecology theory via fuel moisture and fuel production.
UW Climate Impacts Group