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Near-term modeled forest fire area and fuel aridity projections


Abatzoglou, John (2021), Near-term modeled forest fire area and fuel aridity projections, Dryad, Dataset,


Escalating burned area in western US forests has heightened the need to refine near-term forest fire projections. One critical knowledge gap is how fire-fuel feedbacks may constrain such projections. We use both static climate-fire models and dynamic models that incorporate feedbacks to project future western US forest-fire area. Compared to 1991-2020, static models for 2021-2050 project a doubling in forest-fire area, increased year-to-year variability, and increased occurrence of years with forest-fire area exceeding the 2020 fire season. Dynamic models that incorporate fire-fuel feedbacks project more moderate increases, but still show a 46-90% increase in forest-fire area compared to 1991-2020. Our results emphasize the need to mitigate against the negative effects of more fire in the coming decades.