Feb 6, 2017

Human exposure and sensitivity to globally extreme wildfire events

David M. J. S. Bowman, Grant J. Williamson, John T. Abatzoglou, Crystal A. Kolden, Mark A. Cochrane, Alistair M. S. Smith
Nature Ecology & Evolution
  • Identifies 478 extreme wildfire events defined as the daily clusters of fire radiative power from MODIS between 2002 and 2013
  • States that these events are globally distributed across all flammable biomes, and are strongly associated with extreme fire weather conditions
  • States that extreme wildfire events reported as being economically or socially disastrous (n = 144) were concentrated in suburban areas in flammable-forested biomes of the western United States and southeastern Australia, noting potential biases in reporting and the absence of globally comprehensive data of fire disasters
  • Climate change projections suggest an increase in days conducive to extreme wildfire events by 20 to 50% in these disaster-prone landscapes, with sharper increases in the subtropical Southern Hemisphere and European Mediterranean Basin