Assessment of fire risk in relation to land cover in WUI areas

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Publication details

Title of host publicationAdvances in forest fire research
DatePublished - 2014
Pages657-664
Number of pages8
PublisherImprensa da Universidade de Coimbra
EditorsDomingos Xavier Viegas
Original languageEnglish
ISBN (Print)978-989-26-0884-6

Abstract

Areas where urban and wildland intermingle, known as wildland-urban interface (WUI), are increasing worldwide over the last decades (Theobald and Romme 2007; Montiel and Herrero 2010). These WUI areas are of particular concern in forest fire risk management because the presence of housing developments in contact with forestlands increases the likelihood of a fire starting as a consequence of human activities. In Spain, for example, there is increasing evidence that the wildland-urban interface constitutes a highly risk prone area (Herrero et al. 2012; Chas-Amil et al. 2013). Given the recognised role of land cover distribution in fire risk (Bajocco and Ricotta 2008; Oliveira et al. 2013), this paper evaluates recent fire activity across different land cover categories, and the causes and motivations, comparing WUI and non-WUI areas. Fire data were collected in Galicia, Spain, where fires are mostly due to deliberately-caused ignitions. We show that arsonist are more likely to ignited a fire in WUI areas than in non-WUI; and the same seems to be true for fires ignited by agricultural activities. Moreover, land cover types only have a significant impact on the patterns of fire occurrence in WUI areas.

    Research areas

  • fire hazard, land-use cover, wildland-urban interface, intentional-caused fires

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