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Negligent and intentional fires in Portugal: spatial distribution characterization

J. Parente, M. G. Pereira, M. Amraoui, F. Tedim

Average fire size is much higher for intentional than for negligent fires.
Incidence of negligent and intentional fires has different distribution patterns.
Higher drivers' influence for intentional fires, burnt area and in the south region.
Human's drivers and altitude are the most important for fire ignitions.
Negligent (intentional) fires burn more forest and agricultural (human) areas.

Abstract. In the European context, Portugal is the country with the highest number of wildfires and the second with more burnt area. The vast majority of these events are of human origin, whether caused by accident, negligence or arson, reason why it is particularly important to know the regime of these wildfires for forest and wildfire management activities. The study focuses on the most recent years of 2001–2014, when wildfire ignition's coordinates are known, and aims to identify and characterize the wildfire incidence spatial patterns of variability as well as their main drivers. After grouping wildfires with human cause into negligent and intentional, we studied their spatial distribution in terms of normalized number of wildfires (NNF) and burnt area (NBA) in the five Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics II regions of mainland Portugal. Results disclose an uneven spatial distribution of the fire incidence, characterized by a south-north gradient, much higher values in Norte region and more evident for intentional than for negligent wildfires. Human and biophysical drivers strongly influence NNF and NBA, at regional and national scales. Distribution patterns at regional scale, for negligent and intentional wildfires are quite different from entire mainland and all wildfires. Drivers' influence is higher for intentional than for negligent wildfires, for southern than for northern regions and for NBA than for NNF. The leading drivers of NNF are distance to roads (d) population density (pd) and altitude (h) while of NBA are h, d, slope and pd, and this influence is higher for intentional than for negligent wildfires.

Science of The Total Environment, Vol. 624 (May 2018), pp. 424-437, 
Key: INRMM:14611614



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