april 2013

IAWF members have free online access to all research articles and back issues, a great member benefit. The IAWF member page directs you to the Journal, where you can search for your paper, author and/or fire subject of interest. All papers that have been accepted, even those not yet published in hard copy, can be found on the site.

The first issue of the International Journal of Wildland Fire in 2015, Volume 24 (1) 2015, contains the following papers:

Does fire limit tree biomass in Australian savannas?

Brett P. Murphy , Adam C. Liedloff and Garry D. Cook

There have been suggestions that management-imposed reductions in the frequency and intensity of wildfires in savannas could lead to significant sequestration of carbon into additional tree biomass. However, we contend that in northern Australian eucalypt savannas, tree biomass is already close to its upper bound, and it is likely to be relatively unresponsive to fire management.

Correlations between components of the water balance and burned area reveal new insights for predicting forest fire area in the southwest United States

Park Williams , Richard Seager , Alison K. Macalady , Max Berkelhammer , Michael A. Crimmins , Thomas W. Swetnam , Anna T. Trugman , Nikolaus Buenning , David Noone , Nate G. McDowell , Natalia Hryniw , Claudia I. Mora and Thom Rahn

Spring–summer vapour pressure deficit (VPD) correlates at least as strongly with annual burned forest area in the southwest United States as does any evaluated climate or moisture variable. Climate models predict VPD to continue increasing due to warming, implying continued increases in southwestern forest fire area when fuels are not limiting

Different fire–climate relationships on forested and non-forested landscapes in the Sierra Nevada ecoregion

Jon E. Keeley and Alexandra D. Syphard

For the past 100 years, area burned in forests has been more strongly tied to climate than in lower-elevation non-forested ecosystems. In these forests, fire activity is highly dependent on spring precipitation and summer temperatures and less so on winter conditions. Over this time frame, the relationship between fire and climate has not been static and temperature has played an increasingly important role in recent decades.

Location, timing and extent of wildfire vary by cause of ignition

Alexandra D. Syphard and Jon E. Keeley

In southern California, a region dominated by human-caused ignitions, a disproportionate number and extent of fires were associated with specific ignition causes, and this may be due to their distinctive spatial and temporal patterns. Fire prevention programmes could prioritise strategies and optimise resources by focussing on specific causes, locations and timing of ignitions.

Relationships between annual plant productivity, nitrogen deposition and fire size in low-elevation California desert scrub

Leela E. Rao , John R. Matchett , Matthew L. Brooks , Robert F. Johnson , Richard A. Minnich and Edith B. Allen

The relationships between precipitation, N deposition, biomass, and the distribution of fire sizes were investigated using a 28-year fire record of 582 burns from low-elevation desert scrub. Precipitation was as good as or a better predictor of fire size distribution than biomass. A fine fuel biomass threshold was only identified for the upper tail of the distribution.

The influence of a variable fire regime on woodland structure and composition

Emma E. Burgess , Patrick Moss , Murray Haseler and Martine Maron

A focus on the response of plants to the most recent burn limits our ability to answer questions on the appropriate fire regimes for conservation. We found that the fire regime strongly influenced richness and abundance of species categorised as mid-storey trees and those individuals currently in the mid-level strata.

An accuracy assessment of the MTBS burned area product for shrub–steppe fires in the northern Great Basin, United States

Aaron M. Sparks , Luigi Boschetti , Alistair M. S. Smith , Wade T. Tinkham , Karen O. Lannom and Beth A. Newingham

For shrub–steppe fires, this study validates the Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) burned area perimeter product. Although it provides reasonable assessments of the fire perimeter, it oversimplifies the within-fire area. Studies using MTBS data to analyse area burned trends should constrain the burned area product with spectral indices.

Modifying the Canadian Fine Fuel Moisture Code for masticated surface fuels

T. J. Schiks and B. M. Wotton

We investigated the applicability of the Fine Fuel Moisture Code, one component of the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System, in tracking the changes in masticated surface fuel moisture content. Calibration techniques and modifications to the model improved the accuracy of moisture estimates for a boreal forest mastication treatment in west-central Alberta, Canada

Modelling canopy fuel dynamics of maritime pine stands in north-west Spain

Ana Daría Ruiz-González , Fernando Castedo-Dorado , José Antonio Vega , Enrique Jiménez , José María Fernández-Alonso and Juan Gabriel Álvarez-González

Canopy base height and canopy bulk density are the canopy fuel characteristics more related to crown fire potential at stand level. The current models used to estimate their value are not sensitive to silvicultural treatments. In this study, innovative dynamic models including the effect of thinning have been developed.

Comparison of forest burned areas in mainland China derived from MCD45A1 and data recorded in yearbooks from 2001 to 2011

Jianfeng Li , Yu Song , Xin Huang and Mengmeng Li

The paper compared the MCD45A1 and official dataset on the forest burned area in mainland China from 2001 to 2011. The two datasets were comparable on the national scale but showed large differences on the subnational scale, especially for south-west China. MCD45A1 correctly identified the forest fire seasons.


Predicting hourly litter moisture content of larch stands in Daxinganling Region, China using three vapour-exchange methods

Ping Sun , Hongzhou Yu and Sen Jin

Litter moisture content of larch stands in Daxinganling Region, China can be accurately predicted by two quasi-physical models proposed by Australian scientists at 1-h intervals, thus expanding the applicability of the two models.


Estimating the heat transfer to an organic soil surface during crown fire

D. K. Thompson , B. M. Wotton and J. M. Waddington

A model for the energy transfer from a wildfire to a moss-covered peatland surface typical of a boreal forested peatland is presented. The ability of the surface moss layer to ignite was assessed based on model outputs coupled with field observations of surface moisture content during normal and drought periods.


It’s not a ‘thing’ but a ‘place’: reconceptualising ‘assets’ in the context of fire risk landscapes

Ruth Beilin and Karen Reid

The standard approach to isolating and cataloguing assets for protection is not compatible with how people experience their landscapes. The everyday integration of local historical and ecological knowledge, and of spatial and temporal scales, overcomes public and private boundaries, informing people’s interpretation of fire management and risk.


Rebuilding and new housing development after wildfire

Patricia M. Alexandre , Miranda H. Mockrin , Susan I. Stewart , Roger B. Hammer and Volker C. Radeloff

We analysed rebuilding and new development after wildfires destroyed buildings. While only a quarter of homes were rebuilt within 5 years post-fire, new development rates inside versus outside fire perimeters were similar, suggesting that wildfire risk had a limited effect on decisions to live in a fire-prone area.