Anticipating Future Risks of Climate-Driven Wildfires in Boreal Forests

Corning, S., Krasovskiy, A. ORCID:, Kiparisov, P., San Pedro, J., Viana, C.M., & Kraxner, F. (2024). Anticipating Future Risks of Climate-Driven Wildfires in Boreal Forests. Fire 7 (4) e144. 10.3390/fire7040144.

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Extreme forest fires have historically been a significant concern in Canada, the Russian Federation, the USA, and now pose an increasing threat in boreal Europe. This paper deals with application of the wildFire cLimate impacts and Adaptation Model (FLAM) in boreal forests. FLAM operates on a daily time step and utilizes mechanistic algorithms to quantify the impact of climate, human activities, and fuel availability on wildfire probabilities, frequencies, and burned areas. In our paper, we calibrate the model using historical remote sensing data and explore future projections of burned areas under different climate change scenarios. The study consists of the following steps: (i) analysis of the historical burned areas over 2001–2020; (ii) analysis of temperature and precipitation changes in the future projections as compared to the historical period; (iii) analysis of the future burned areas projected by FLAM and driven by climate change scenarios until the year 2100; (iv) simulation of adaptation options under the worst-case scenario. The modeling results show an increase in burned areas under all Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios. Maintaining current temperatures (RCP 2.6) will still result in an increase in burned area (total and forest), but in the worst-case scenario (RCP 8.5), projected burned forest area will more than triple by 2100. Based on FLAM calibration, we identify hotspots for wildland fires in the boreal forest and suggest adaptation options such as increasing suppression efficiency at the hotspots. We model two scenarios of improved reaction times—stopping a fire within 4 days and within 24 h—which could reduce average burned forest areas by 48.6% and 79.2%, respectively, compared to projected burned areas without adaptation from 2021–2099.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: wildfire modeling; climate change impacts; boreal forest; adaptation options
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services (AFE)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2024 10:34
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 10:34

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