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Selection: Chuvieco:E [21 articles] 

Publications by author Chuvieco:E.

Climatological risk: wildfires

In Science for disaster risk management 2017: knowing better and losing less, Vol. 28034 (2017), pp. 294-305


[Excerpt: Conclusions and key messages] There is a vast amount of information on wildfires at local, regional and global scales. However, problems remain at different scales in terms of harmonising or standardising practices for the assessment and management of wildfire risk. [\n] Resilience theory is providing a suitable framework by which to explain abrupt changes in socioecological systems. The importance of community participation and building social capital through collective learning and governance mechanisms has been highlighted as a required basis for building disaster resilience (Aldunce et al., 2015; Aldunce et al., 2016; Montiel and Kraus, 2010; O’Brien et al., ...


  1. SCION, 2009. Fire behavioiur app. .
  2. NFPA, 2016 Firewise Communities Program. .
  3. GOV.UK, n.d. LH1: Management of lowland heathland .
  4. KWFW, 2014. Wildfire Threat Analysis (WTA):NERC-funded scoping project with Forestry Commission. .
  5. HM Tresaury, 2013. Orange book: management of risk - principles and concepts. .
  6. Cabinet Office, 2015. National Risk

Human factors of fire occurrence in the Mediterranean

In Earth Observation of Wildland Fires in Mediterranean Ecosystems (2009), pp. 149-170,
edited by Emilio Chuvieco


The Mediterranean region accounts the larger proportion of human caused fires in the world (95%) followed by South Asia (90%), South America (85%) and Northeast Asia (80%) (FAO 2007). Socio-economic changes which are occurring in Europe along with global warming result in an augment of fire risk. Systematic and reliable information on fire causes is necessary in order to improve wildland fire management. However, collection of information on forest fire causes and motivations is still quite restricted in most countries around ...


Modelling long-term fire occurrence factors in Spain by accounting for local variations with geographically weighted regression

Natural Hazards and Earth System Science, Vol. 13, No. 2. (11 February 2013), pp. 311-327,


Humans are responsible for most forest fires in Europe, but anthropogenic factors behind these events are still poorly understood. We tried to identify the driving factors of human-caused fire occurrence in Spain by applying two different statistical approaches. Firstly, assuming stationary processes for the whole country, we created models based on multiple linear regression and binary logistic regression to find factors associated with fire density and fire presence, respectively. Secondly, we used geographically weighted regression (GWR) to better understand and explore ...


Integration of ecological and socio-economic factors to assess global vulnerability to wildfire

Global Ecology and Biogeography, Vol. 23, No. 2. (2014), pp. 245-258,


[Aim] This paper presents a map of global fire vulnerability, estimating the potential damage of wildland fires to global ecosystems. [Location] Global scale at 0.5° grid resolution. [Methods] Three vulnerability factors were considered: ecological richness and fragility, provision of ecosystem services and value of houses in the wildland–urban interface. Each of these factors was estimated from existing global databases. Ecological values were estimated from biodiversity relevance, conservation status and fragmentation based on Olson's ecoregions. The ecological regeneration delay was estimated from adaptation to fires and soil ...


A new global burned area product for climate assessment of fire impacts

Global Ecology and Biogeography, Vol. 25, No. 5. (May 2016), pp. 619-629,


[Aim] This paper presents a new global burned area (BA) product developed within the framework of the European Space Agency's Climate Change Initiative (CCI) programme, along with a first assessment of its potentials for atmospheric and carbon cycle modelling. [Innovation] Methods are presented for generating a new global BA product, along with a comparison with existing BA products, in terms of BA extension, fire size and shapes and emissions derived from biomass burnings. [Main conclusions] Three years of the global BA product were ...


Anthropogenic effects on global mean fire size

International Journal of Wildland Fire, Vol. 24, No. 5. (2015), 589,


Wildland fires are an important agent in the earth’s system. Multiple efforts are currently in progress to better represent wildland fires in earth system models. Although wildland fires are a natural disturbance factor, humans have an important effect on fire occurrence by directly igniting and suppressing fires and indirectly influencing fire behaviour by changing land cover and landscape structure. Although these factors are recognised, their quantitative effect on fire growth and burned area are not well understood and therefore only partly ...


Live fuel moisture content and ignition probability in the Iberian peninsular territory of Spain

GeoFocus, Vol. 13, No. 2. (2013), pp. 25-40


This paper presents an operational algorithm to produce Live Fuel Moisture Content (LFMC) at national scale from MODIS data. The algorithm is based on the inversion of Radiative Transfer Models (RTM) that estimate moisture content based on different simulation scenarios. In addition, logistic regression models were calibrated to convert the derived LFMC values into Ignition Probability (IP) maps. The areas under the curve obtained by the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) plot method provided by the models were close to 0.6. Several ...


Remotely sensed Live Fuel Moisture retrieval using Radiative Transfer Models



La presente tesis doctoral ha tenido como objetivo principal el estimar el contenido de humedad de la vegetación viva (LFMC) en el contexto de la evaluación del riesgo de incendio. El área de estudio ha sido la comprendida por la región Mediterránea y Eurosiberiana, ambas localizadas en el territorio peninsular español. La teledetección espacial es una herramienta útil y prometedora para estimar parámetros biofísicos. Por lo tanto, las imágenes de satélite procedentes del programa MODIS (MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) a 500m ...


Modeling airborne laser scanning data for the spatial generation of critical forest parameters in fire behavior modeling

Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 86, No. 2. (30 July 2003), pp. 177-186,


Methods for using airborne laser scanning (also called airborne LIDAR) to retrieve forest parameters that are critical for fire behavior modeling are presented. A model for the automatic extraction of forest information is demonstrated to provide spatial coverage of the study area, making it possible to produce 3-D inputs to improve fire behavior models. [\n] The Toposys I airborne laser system recorded the last return of each footprint (0.30–0.38 m) over a 2000 m by 190 m flight line. Raw data ...


Development of a framework for fire risk assessment using remote sensing and geographic information system technologies

Ecological Modelling, Vol. 221, No. 1. (10 January 2010), pp. 46-58,


Forest fires play a critical role in landscape transformation, vegetation succession, soil degradation and air quality. Improvements in fire risk estimation are vital to reduce the negative impacts of fire, either by lessen burn severity or intensity through fuel management, or by aiding the natural vegetation recovery using post-fire treatments. This paper presents the methods to generate the input variables and the risk integration developed within the Firemap project (funded under the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology) to map wildland ...


Human-caused wildfire risk rating for prevention planning in Spain

Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 90, No. 2. (February 2009), pp. 1241-1252,


This paper identifies human factors associated with high forest fire risk in Spain and analyses the spatial distribution of fire occurrence in the country. The spatial units were 6,066 municipalities of the Spanish peninsular territory and Balearic Islands. The study covered a 13-year series of fire occurrence data. One hundred and eight variables were generated and input to a dedicated Geographic Information System (GIS) to model different factors related to fire ignition. After exploratory analysis, 29 were selected to build a ...


Global fire size distribution is driven by human impact and climate

Global Ecology and Biogeography, Vol. 24, No. 1. (January 2015), pp. 77-86,


[Aim] In order to understand fire's impacts on vegetation dynamics, it is crucial that the distribution of fire sizes be known. We approached this distribution using a power-law distribution, which derives from self-organized criticality theory (SOC). We compute the global spatial variation in the power-law exponent and determine the main factors that explain its spatial distribution. [Location] Global, at 2° grid resolution. [Methods] We use satellite-derived MODIS burned-area data (MCD45) to obtain global individual fire size data for 2002–2010, grouped together for each 2° grid. A ...


Advances in remote sensing and GIS applications in support of forest fire management

International Journal of Wildland Fire, Vol. 23, No. 5. (2014), 603,


[Excerpt: Introduction] In recent years, the importance of wildfires as a natural or a human-induced phenomenon has gained recognition not only at local but also at regional and global levels. Improved remote sensing and computational capabilities enable the rapid processing of large image datasets in near-real time. As a result, remote sensing and geographic information systems are becoming common tools for fire monitoring at local, regional and global levels [...]. [\n] Wildland fires, a hot topic of research since the early days of ...


Integrating geospatial information into fire risk assessment

International Journal of Wildland Fire, Vol. 23, No. 5. (2014), 606,


Fire risk assessment should take into account the most relevant components associated to fire occurrence. To estimate when and where the fire will produce undesired effects, we need to model both (a) fire ignition and propagation potential and (b) fire vulnerability. Following these ideas, a comprehensive fire risk assessment system is proposed in this paper, which makes extensive use of geographic information technologies to offer a spatially explicit evaluation of fire risk conditions. The paper first describes the conceptual model, then ...


A global review of remote sensing of live fuel moisture content for fire danger assessment: moving towards operational products

Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 136 (September 2013), pp. 455-468,


[Highlights] [::] We review satellite LFMC products and their operational use for fire assessment. [::] The literature is dominated by statistical and physical model-based methods. [::] Statistical methods are site-specific. [::] The parameterization of physical models is complex. [::] Challenges: quantifying estimation errors and linking LFMC to fire behavior/risk. [Abstract] One of the primary variables affecting ignition and spread of wildfire is fuel moisture content (FMC). Live FMC (LFMC) is responsive to long term climate and plant adaptations to drought, requiring remote sensing for monitoring of spatial and ...


Regional estimation of woodland moisture content by inverting Radiative Transfer Models

Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 132 (May 2013), pp. 59-70,


[Abstract] We inverted the PROSPECT and GEOSAIL Radiative Transfer Models (RTM) using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) data to retrieve Live Fuel Moisture Content (LFMC) in woodlands located in the peninsular territory of Spain. Ecological rules were used to parameterize the RTM. This approach reduces the probability of an ill-posed problem in the inversion of the selected RTMs, by rejecting unrealistic combinations of input parameters. Three species representatives of each region were used to derive the ecological rules: Quercus ilex L., Quercus ...


Linking ecological information and radiative transfer models to estimate fuel moisture content in the Mediterranean region of Spain: solving the ill-posed inverse problem

Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 113, No. 11. (16 November 2009), pp. 2403-2411,


Live fuel moisture content (FMC) is a key factor required to evaluate fire risk and its operative and accurate estimation is essential for allocating pre-fire resources as a part of fire prevention. This paper presents an operative and accurate procedure to estimate FMC though MODIS (moderate resolution imaging spectrometer) data and simulation models. The new aspects of the method are its consideration of several ecological criteria to parameterize the models and consistently avoid simulating unrealistic spectra which might produce indetermination (ill-posed) ...


Estimation of live fuel moisture content from MODIS images for fire risk assessment

Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Vol. 148, No. 4. (April 2008), pp. 523-536,


This paper presents a method to estimate fuel moisture content (FMC) of Mediterranean vegetation species from satellite images in the context of fire risk assessment. The relationship between satellite images and field collected FMC data was based on two methodologies: empirical relations and statistical models based on simulated reflectances derived from radiative transfer models (RTM). Both models were applied to the same validation data set to compare their performance. FMC of grassland and shrublands were estimated using a 5-year time series ...


Global and regional vegetation fire monitoring from space: planning a coordinated international effort



[Introduction] Increasing conflagrations of forests and other lands throughout the world during the 1980s and 1990s have made fires in forest and other vegetation emerge as an important global concern. Both the number and severity of wildfires (accidental fires) and the application of fire for land-use change, seem to have increased dramatically compared to previous decades of the twentieth century. The adverse consequences of extensive wildfires cross national boundaries and have global impacts. Fire regimes are changing with climate variability and ...


Forest fires in the European Mediterranean region: mapping and analysis of burned areas

In Earth Observation of Wildland Fires in Mediterranean Ecosystems (2009), pp. 189-203,
edited by Emilio Chuvieco


Approximately 60,000 fires occur in the European Mediterranean region every year. On average, they burn approximately half a million ha of forest areas. The mapping of areas burned by forest fires is of critical importance for the analysis of fire impact and for the monitoring of fire recurrence and vegetation recovery in affected areas. An important contribution of remote sensing in wildfire monitoring is the mapping and analysis of burnt areas. Areas affected by forest fires present a distinct spectral response ...


Projecting future burnt area in the EU-Mediterranean countries under IPCC SRES A2/B2 climate change scenarios

In Proceedings of the VII International EARSeL Workshop - Advances on Remote Sensing and GIS applications in Forest Fire Management, No. JRC55149. (2009), pp. 33-38


The goal of this work is to use the results of statistical modelling of historical (1985-2004) monthly burnt areas in European Mediterranean countries, as a function of monthly weather data and derived fire danger indexes, and to analyse potential trends under present and future climate conditions. Meteorological variables were extracted from the ECMWF, and the FWI system components were computed from 1961 until 2004. Monthly averages of the indexes were used as explanatory variables in a stepwise multiple linear regression analysis, to estimate the monthly burnt areas in ...

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