Encyclopedia of Wildfires and Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fires

Living Edition
| Editors: Samuel L. Manzello

Fire History

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51727-8_113-1


Fire history is the study of the spatial and temporal patterns of past wildland fires.


Information on recent wildland fires comes from documentary records and satellite observations that span years to decades. On longer time scales, fire history is reconstructed from tree rings, including fire scars and the origin dates of postfire cohorts of trees, and sedimentary deposits of charcoal in lakes and wetlands; these reconstructions span centuries to millennia. Historical fire records are useful for understanding interactions among fire, climate, and vegetation and the influence of fire on long-term ecosystem dynamics.

Fire History from Documentary Records

Documentary records are recent time series of fire activity that include the date and location of points at which fires have ignited (e.g., Short 2015) and/or the mapped perimeters of fires (e.g., Morgan et al. 2014). The temporal resolution of these records varies from days to years, and the spatial resolution...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research StationFire Sciences LaboratoryMissoulaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth Sciences and Montana Institute on EcosystemsMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kuibin Zhou
    • 1
  1. 1.Nanjing Tech UniversityNanjingChina