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Fire Ecology, 2014
Volume 10, Issue 2

Modeling Climate-Fire Connections within the Great Basin and 
Upper Colorado River Basin, Western United States

Authors: James D. Arnold, Simon C. Brewer, and Philip E. Dennison
Pages: 64-75
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.1002064

The specific temporal patterns of antecedent conditions associated with fire occurrence in the Great Basin and Upper Colorado River Basin are poorly understood. Using 25 years of combined fire and climate data, we identified unique antecedent patterns of climate conditions prior to fires in the Great Basin and Upper Colorado River Basin. Five distinct antecedent patterns of climate related to fire were found within the region; with these antecedent patterns we were able to construct models of fire danger. The occurrence of these antecedent patterns varies both spatially and temporally, and appears to be driven by drought severity. We used a Maximum Entropy approach to model the spatial extent and strength of these fire-climate patterns, and the associated fire danger. This approach provides land managers with a practical way to assess fire danger at a relatively fine spatial scale and also gives researchers a tool for assessing future fire danger.

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