, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 345-357

Climate Warming, Wildfire Hazard, and Wildfire Occurrence in Coastal Eastern Spain

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A climatic series (1941 to 1994) from a Mediterranean locality of NE Spain was used to calculate two wildfire hazard indices based on daily meteorological data. Both fire hazard indices increased over this period, as a consequence of increasing mean daily maximum temperature and decreasing minimum daily relative humidity. These trends were observed in both mean values of the indices and in the number of very high risk days. Annual data on the number of wildfires and burned area also show an increase from 1968 to 1994, and are significantly correlated with both fire hazard indices. Although other non-meteorological causes (e.g., human activities, fuel accumulation) have likely contributed to the observed increase of wildfires, an effect of climatic warming on wildfire occurrence is supported by this relationship.