Size dependency of variables influencing fire occurrence in Mediterranean forests of Eastern Spain
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CitationPeris-Llopis, Marina. González-Olabarria, José Ramón. Mola-Yudego, Blas. (2020). Size dependency of variables influencing fire occurrence in Mediterranean forests of Eastern Spain. European journal of forest research, 139, 525-537. 10.1007/s10342-020-01265-9.
Fires are among the most damaging disturbances to forests in the Mediterranean area. The study analyses the occurrence and characteristics of forest fires in Eastern Spain (1993–2015) to identify key variables related to burnt forest land, differentiating fires according to their burnt area. Data are retrieved from digital cartography, the Spanish Forest Map and data concerning fires. Based on previous research, the variables included are altitude, slope, aspect, fuel, species, population and road density. The fires are classified in small (5–50 ha), medium (50–500 ha) and large (> 500 ha). Four models are considered to explain the proportion of burnt area based on weighted generalized linear models: a general model and one per size class. The results highlight the different relations of similar variables with fires according to the size. When a single model is considered to explain all area burnt, the relationships are mainly driven by large fires. The larger area is burnt on forests with pine, bushes and small trees, whereas smaller fires tend to occur on lower altitude, low slope, high population and road densities. There are large differences in the variables according to the fire sizes, especially for the presence of pine (negative in the medium fires model but positive for the large fires model) and Pasture (which only explains the small fires). The models can be applied to analyse occurrence by fire size in Mediterranean areas, and the results can help elaborate fire prevention strategies and land-planning schemes.