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Temperature determining larger wildland fires in NE Spain

Abstract

Significant relationships were found between high-temperature days and wildland fire occurrence in the 1978–2011 period in Aragón (NE Spain). Temperature was analyzed at 850 hPa to characterize the low troposphere state, avoiding problems that affect surface reanalysis and providing regional coverage. A high-temperature day was established when air temperature was higher than 20 °C at 850 hPa. The number of these days increased significantly in the study period, increasing the frequency of adverse weather conditions that could facilitate extreme fire behavior. Specifically, these high-temperature days are more frequent in June than they used to be. The effects of those high-temperature days in wildland fire patterns were significant in terms of burned area, number of wildland fires, and average size. Fires larger than 60 ha were the subject of this study. These wildland fires have been increasing in number and size in the last years of the series.

Abstract

Significant relationships were found between high-temperature days and wildland fire occurrence in the 1978–2011 period in Aragón (NE Spain). Temperature was analyzed at 850 hPa to characterize the low troposphere state, avoiding problems that affect surface reanalysis and providing regional coverage. A high-temperature day was established when air temperature was higher than 20 °C at 850 hPa. The number of these days increased significantly in the study period, increasing the frequency of adverse weather conditions that could facilitate extreme fire behavior. Specifically, these high-temperature days are more frequent in June than they used to be. The effects of those high-temperature days in wildland fire patterns were significant in terms of burned area, number of wildland fires, and average size. Fires larger than 60 ha were the subject of this study. These wildland fires have been increasing in number and size in the last years of the series.

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Acknowledgments

We are thankful to the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness grant named ForBurn Ref: AGL2012-40098-CO3-01. We are also grateful to Pau Costa Foundation and University of Lleida for partially supporting this study. We thank David Merenciano help in several tasks related with this work.

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Correspondence to D. M. Molina-Terrén.

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Molina-Terrén, D.M., Cardil, A. Temperature determining larger wildland fires in NE Spain. Theor Appl Climatol 125, 295–302 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-015-1511-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-015-1511-1

Keywords

  • Burned Area
  • Fire Behavior
  • Fire Suppression
  • Large Fire
  • Wildland Fire