Exploring Drivers of Wildfires in Spain

Hammed, R., Alawode, G., Montoya, L., Krasovskiy, A. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0940-9366, & Kraxner, F. (2024). Exploring Drivers of Wildfires in Spain. Land 13 (6) e762. 10.3390/land13060762.

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Wildfires play a dual role in ecosystems by providing ecological benefits while posing catastrophic events; they also inflict non-catastrophic damage and yield long-term effects on biodiversity, soil quality, and air quality, among other factors, including public health. This study analysed the key determinants of wildland fires in Spain using openly available spatial data from 2008 to 2021, including fire perimeters, bioclimatic variables, topography, and socioeconomic datasets, at a resolution of 1 km2. Our methodology combined principal component analysis (PCA), linear regression analysis, and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Our findings show that scrub/herbaceous vegetation (average 63 ± 1.45% SE) and forests (average 19 ± 0.76% SE) have been highly susceptible to wildfires. The population density exhibited a robust positive correlation with wildfire frequency (R2 = 0.88, p < 0.0001). Although the study provides insights into some fire-related climatic drivers over Spain, it includes only temperature- and precipitation-based variables and does not explicitly consider fuel dynamics. Therefore, a more advanced methodology should be applied in the future to understand the local specifics of regional wildfire dynamics. Our study identified that scrub/herbaceous areas and forests near densely populated regions should be prioritised for wildfire management in Spain, particularly under changing climate conditions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: wildfires; land cover; driving factors; burned area; PCA
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services (AFE)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 31 May 2024 09:20
Last Modified: 31 May 2024 09:20
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/19759

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