Relations Between Human Factors and Global Fire Activity

  • Emilio ChuviecoEmail author
  • Chris Justice


Biomass burning is a critical factor to understand both atmospheric and vegetation properties worldwide. Recent changes in global temperatures and socio-economic transformations have affected traditional fire regimes, thus magnifying the negative effects of fire upon human and ecological values. Most sources recognize the importance of human factors in fire ignition, but few studies have tried to understand human patterns of fire at global scale. This paper addresses some of those factors, by using geographical databases covering the whole planet. Fire occurrence was estimated from a database of hot-spots detected by the MODIS sensor, covering the period from 2001 to 2006. Human factors are proven to be related to fire persistency and seasonality, while fire density patterns are associated to human variables for specific climates and vegetation covers.


Land Cover Fire Activity Fire Occurrence Boreal Region Fire Season 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Data for the global analysis of fire characteristics was downloaded from the following sources: Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Efforts of these institutions to generate those databases are greatly acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of AlcaláAlcalá de HenaresSpain
  2. 2.Geography DepartmentUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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