Published date May 3, 2006

Recent changes in the fire regime across the North American boreal region—Spatial and temporal patterns of burning across Canada and Alaska

  • Uses historic records from 1959–99 to explore fire regime characteristics at ecozone scales across the entire North American boreal region (NABR)
  • Finds that shifts in the NABR fire regime between the 1960s/70s and the 1980s/90s were characterized by a doubling of annual burned area and more than a doubling of the frequency of larger fire years because of more large fire events (>1,000 km2)
  • Finds the proportion of total burned area from human‐ignited fires decreased over this same time period, while the proportion of burning during the early and late‐ growing‐seasons increased
  • Finds that trends in increased burned area were consistent across the NABR ecozones, though the western ecozones experienced greater increases in larger fire years compared to the eastern ecozones
  • States that seasonal patterns of burning differed among ecozones
  • Concludes that, along with the climate warming, changes in the fire regime characteristics may be an important driver of future ecosystem processes in the NABR