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The art of the science: climate forecasts for wildfire management in the southeastern United States


This article illustrates how a wildfire risk forecast evolved iteratively based on stakeholder consultations. An assessment based on phone interviews indicates that such forecasts can assist fire management decisions, such as deployment of human, financial, and material resources and management of forest, timber, and habitats, and public safety. But careful attention to communication, collaboration, and capacity building is key to realizing this potential.

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This study was supported by USDA and NOAA through the Southeast Climate Consortium. We appreciate comments by Alan Dozier, Carrie Furman, Gregg Garfin, and Keith Ingram, and graphic work by Shenandoah Evans and Oxana Uryasev.

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Correspondence to Carla Roncoli.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.


Example of wildfire risk forecast available on the AgroClimate website in June 2008 (JPEG 4542 kb)


Example of wildfire risk forecast available on the AgroClimate website in July 2011, indicating a 58% probability of severely dry conditions for Laurel County, Georgia (JPEG 3370 kb)


Potential applications of wildfire risk forecasts identified by stakeholders (DOC 41 kb)

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Roncoli, C., Breuer, N., Zierden, D. et al. The art of the science: climate forecasts for wildfire management in the southeastern United States. Climatic Change 113, 1113–1121 (2012).

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