Spatial characteristics of regional wildfire frequencies in Intermountain West grass-dominated communities

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Paul A. Knapp, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Understanding the environmental factors that influence spatial patterns of rangeland wildfires facilitates both fire and land management decisions. I used discriminant analysis to examine ignition frequency of lightning-initiated fires in grass-dominated communities in the Intermountain West between 1980 and 1994, then mapped regional fire frequencies to illustrate spatial patterns. Two canonical discriminant functions effectively separate groups of high, medium, and low ignition frequencies, based on climate conditions and fuel characteristics. Regions of highest frequency tend to have large elevational differences, more mesic climates, and less annual grass cover. Spatial patterns of ignition frequencies tend to reflect local topography, with higher frequencies west of 119° W. Expansion of exotic annual grasses throughout the region may be reducing differences in ignition frequency between regions of highest and lowest frequency.

Additional Information

The Professional Geographer 49:3 9-51
Language: English
Date: 1997
regional fire frequency, Intermountain West, lightning-initiated fires

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