Spatiotemporal changes in conterminous US wildfire exposure from 1940 to 2010

Original Paper
  • 6 Downloads

Abstract

This study utilizes fine-scale, built-environment data in conjunction with past wildfire events to assess historical spatiotemporal changes in wildfire likelihood and societal exposure to wildfires for the conterminous USA. Results indicate that conterminous US wildfire exposure has increased substantially over the past 70 years due to escalating wildfire likelihood and an expanding human-developed footprint. Although wildfire exposure has increased as a whole throughout the conterminous USA, the relative contributions of wildfire likelihood and the built environment to exposure vary from region to region. Wildfire likelihood plays a larger role in exposure in the western USA due to a greater frequency of large wildfires. Conversely, built-environment density has a stronger influence on exposure than wildfire likelihood within the eastern and central USA. In all, the total number of homes and total developed land area prone to wildfire impacts has increased by nearly 1350% since 1940 throughout the conterminous USA. Findings presented in this study highlight the importance of considering both hazard likelihood and built-environment magnitude when assessing wildfire exposure. Given the rapid historical amplifications of both wildfire likelihood and societal exposure, communities in wildfire-prone areas should implement and/or continually evolve their existing wildfire prevention strategies to include the effects of expanding development to reduce future damages and losses. The continual enactment and adaptation of wildfire suppression and mitigation strategies will ultimately result in more disaster-resilient communities as climate and society continue to influence the future US wildfire exposure.

Keywords

Wildfire Risk Exposure Land use Disaster 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author thanks the anonymous referees for their thoughtful suggestions, feedback, and reviews.

References

  1. Ager AA, Day MA, McHugh CW, Short K, Gilbertson-Day J, Finney MA, Calkin DE (2014) Wildfire exposure and fuel management on western US national forests. J Environ Manag 145:54–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ashley WA, Strader SM (2016) Recipe for disaster: how the dynamic ingredients of likelihood and exposure are changing the tornado disaster landscape. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 97:767–786CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ashley WS, Strader S, Rosencrants T, Krmenec AJ (2014) Spatiotemporal changes in tornado hazard exposure: the case of the expanding bull’s-eye effect in Chicago, Illinois. Weather Clim Soc 6:175–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Associated Press (2006) Southern wildfires-the latest story. https://apnews.com/064a54f6e66043a2aaff3f6bf9994e04/5-more-victims-names-released-gatlinburg-wildfires. Accessed 2 July 2017
  5. Balch JK, Bradley BA, Abatzoglou JT, Nagy RC, Fusco EJ, Mahood AL (2017) Human-started wildfires expand the fire niche across the United States. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 114(11):2946–2951CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brath A, Montanari A, Moretti G (2006) Assessing the effect on flood frequency of land use change via hydrological simulation (with uncertainty). J Hydrol 324(1):141–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Butry DT (2009) Fighting fire with fire: estimating the efficacy of wildfire mitigation programs using propensity scores. Environ Ecol Stat 16(2):291–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cal Fire (2017) California statewide fire summary. http://calfire.ca.gov/communications/communications_StatewideFireSummary
  9. Calkin DE, Thompson MP, Finney MA (2015) Negative consequences of positive feedbacks in US wildfire management. For Ecosyst 2(1):9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. City of Boise ID (2017) Wildfire mitigation. http://fire.cityofboise.org/fire-prevention/wildfire-mitigation/. Accessed 23 July 2017
  11. Dennison PE, Brewer SC, Arnold JD, Moritz MA (2014) Large wildfire trends in the western United States, 1984–2011. Geophys Res Lett 41(8):2928–2933CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Diefenbach AK, Wood NJ, Ewert JW (2015) Variations in community exposure to lahar hazards from multiple volcanoes in Washington State (USA). J Appl Volcanol 4(1):4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Duany A, Plater-Zyberk E, Speck J (2000) Suburban nation: The rise of sprawl and the decline of the American dream. North Point Press, New York, p 320Google Scholar
  14. Ferguson AP, Ashley WS (2017) Spatiotemporal analysis of residential flood exposure in the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area. Nat Hazards 87(2):989–1016.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-017-2806-6
  15. Firewise USA (2017) Firewise USA residents reducing wildfire likelihoods. http://www.firewise.org/. Accessed 23 July 2017
  16. Freeman A, Ashley W (2017) Changes in the U.S. hurricane disaster landscape: The relationship between likelihood and exposure. Nat Hazards.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-017-2885-4 Google Scholar
  17. Gabe TM (2006) Growth of creative occupations in US metropolitan areas: a shift-share analysis. Growth Change 37(3):396–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Giglio L, Randerson JT, Van Der Werf GR (2013) Analysis of daily, monthly, and annual burned area using the fourth-generation global fire emissions database (GFED4). J Geophys Res Biogeosci 118:317–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gillett NP, Weaver AJ, Zwiers FW, Flannigan MD (2004) Detecting the effect of climate change on Canadian forest fires. Geophys Res Lett 31:L18211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gillham O (2002) The limitless city: A primer on the urban sprawl debate. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  21. Greene RP, Pick JB (2013) Shifting patterns of suburban dominance: the case of Chicago from 2000 to 2010. J Maps 9:1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Haberlie A, Ashley W, Pingel T (2015) The effect of urbanization on the climatology of thunderstorm initiation. Q J R Meteorol Soc 141:663–675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Homer C, Dewitz J, Yang L, Jin S, Danielson P, Xian G, Coulston J, Herold N, Wickham J, Megown K (2015) Completion of the 2011 National Land Cover Database for the conterminous United States–representing a decade of land cover change information. Photogramm Eng Remote Sens 81(5):345–354Google Scholar
  24. Irwin EG, Bockstael NE (2002) Interacting agents, spatial externalities, and the endogenous evolution of residential land use pattern. J Econ Geogr 2(1):31–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jacob D (2017) California wildfires expected to cause record insurance loss, Aon reports. http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2017/11/13/california-wildfires-expected-to-cause-record-insu?slreturn=1511380427
  26. Landis J, Zhang M (1998) The second generation of the California urban futures model. Part 2: specification and calibration results of the land-use change submodel. Environ Plan B Plan Des 25(6):795–824CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Leighton FB (1976) Urban landslides: targets for land-use planning in California. Geol Soc Am Spec 174:37–60Google Scholar
  28. Marglin SA, Schor JB (1990) The golden age of capitalism: reinterpreting the postwar experience. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Marlon JR, Bartlein PJ, Walsh MK, Harrison SP, Brown KJ, Edwards ME, Higuera PE, Power MJ, Anderson RS, Briles C, Brunelle A (2009) Wildfire responses to abrupt climate change in North America. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106(8):2519–2524CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Miller JD, Safford HD, Crimmins M, Thode AE (2009) Quantitative evidence for increasing forest fire severity in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade Mountains, California and Nevada, USA. Ecosystems 12(1):16–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Morss R, Wilhelmi O, Meehl GA, Dilling L (2011) Improving societal outcomes of extreme weather in a changing climate: an integrated perspective. Annu Rev Environ Resour 36:1–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (2017) Billion-dollar weather and climate disasters: table of events. https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events/US/1980-2017
  33. National Fire Protection Association-National Wildfire Community Preparedness (NFPA-NWCP) (2017) Public education. http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/campaigns/national-wildfire-community-preparedness-day. Accessed 23 July 2017
  34. Noonan-Wright EK, Opperman TS, Finney MA, Zimmerman GT, Seli RC, Elenz LM, Calkin DE, Fiedler JR (2011) Developing the US wildland fire decision support system. J Combust 2011:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. O’Connell PE, Ewen J, O’Donnell G, Quinn P (2007) Is there a link between agricultural land-use management and flooding? Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 11(1):96–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Parker DR (1992) The Oakland–Berkeley hills fire: an overview. http://www.sfmuseum.org/oakfire/overview.html
  37. Paul B (2011) Environmental hazards and disasters: contexts, perspectives and management. Wiley, SomersetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Piñol J, Terradas J, Lloret F (1998) Climate warming, wildfire hazard, and wildfire occurrence in coastal eastern Spain. Clim Change 38(3):345–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pottier N, Penning-Rowsell E, Tunstall S, Hubert G (2005) Land use and flood protection: contrasting approaches and outcomes in France and in England and Wales. Appl Geogr 25(1):1–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rosencrants TD, Ashley WS (2015) Spatiotemporal analysis of tornado exposure in five US metropolitan areas. Nat Hazards 78:121–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shepherd JM (2005) A review of current investigations of urban-induced rainfall and recommendations for the future. Earth Interact 9(12):1–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Short KC (2017) Spatial wildfire occurrence data for the United States, 1992–2015 [FPA_FOD_20150323]. https://www.fs.usda.gov/rds/archive/Product/RDS-2013-0009.4/. Accessed 8 Apr 2017
  43. Sidle RC, Ochiai H (2006) Landslides: processes, prediction, and land use. American Geophysical Union, Washington D.CCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sleeter BM, Wood NJ, Soulard CE, Wilson TS (2017) Projecting community changes in hazard exposure to support long-term likelihood reduction: a case study of tsunami hazards in the US Pacific Northwest. Int J Disaster Likelihood Reduct 22:10–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sohl T, Sayler K (2008) Using the FORE-SCE model to project land-cover change in the southeastern United States. Ecol Model 219(1):49–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Strader SM, Ashley WS (2015) The expanding bull’s-eye effect. Weatherwise 68:23–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Strader SM, Ashley W, Walker J (2015) Changes in volcanic hazard exposure in the Northwest USA from 1940 to 2100. Nat Hazards 77:1365–1392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Strader SM, Ashley WS, Pingel TJ, Krmenec AJ (2017) Observed and projected changes in United States tornado exposure. Weather Clim Soc 9:109–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Syphard AD, Massada AB, Butsic V, Keeley JE (2013) Land use planning and wildfire: development policies influence future probability of housing loss. PLoS ONE 8(8):71708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Theobald DM (2005) Landscape patterns of exurban growth in the USA from 1980 to 2020. Ecol Soc 10:32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tralli DM, Blom RG, Zlotnicki V, Donnellan A, Evans DL (2005) Satellite remote sensing of earthquake, volcano, flood, landslide and coastal inundation hazards. ISPRS J Photogramm Remote Sens 59(4):185–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) (2009) Land-use scenarios, national-scale housing-density scenarios consistent with climate change storylines. Final Report. EPA/600/R-08/076FGoogle Scholar
  53. Waddell P (2002) UrbanSim: modeling urban development for land use, transportation and environmental planning. J Am Plan As 68:297–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Westerling AL (2016) Increasing western US forest wildfire activity: sensitivity to changes in the timing of spring. Phil Trans R Soc B 371(1696):20150178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Westerling AL, Hidalgo HG, Cayan DR, Swetnam TW (2006) Warming and earlier spring increase western US forest wildfire activity. Science 313(5789):940–943CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wheater H, Evans E (2009) Land use, water management and future flood likelihood. Land Use Policy 26:S251–S264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Whitlock C (2004) Land management: forests, fires and climate. Nature 432(7013):28–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wood NJ, Jones J, Spielman S, Schmidtlein MC (2015) Community clusters of tsunami vulnerability in the US Pacific Northwest. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(17):354–5359CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and the EnvironmentVillanova UniversityVillanovaUSA

Personalised recommendations