The increase of wildfire incidence in highly populated areas significantly enhances the risk for ecosystems and human lives, activities and infrastructures. In central and southern Italy, recent decades' fire records indicate that 2007 and 2017 were extreme years in terms of the number of fires and total burned area. Among them, we selected large fire events and explored their features and drivers of burn severity. We used a standardized extraction procedure to identify large wildfires (>100 ha) from the MODIS burned areas database and Landsat multi-spectral images. We mapped burn severity with the Relative Difference Normalized Burn Ratio index and explored the main drivers of severity using topographic, land-cover and anthropogenic predictors. We selected 113 wildfires for a collective total burned area of over 100,000 ha. Large fires were more frequent in the southern than in the central and northern regions, especially in July and August. The average fire size was about 900 ha and occurred mainly in shrublands (30.4%) and broadleaf forests (19.5%). With a random forest model, we observed that the highest severity occurred in conifer plantations and shrublands, in highly populated areas and at lower elevations. Burn severity models, at the landscape or regional scales, can be very useful tools for pre- and post-fire forest management planning.

Burn Severity Drivers in Italian Large Wildfires / Malandra, F.; Vitali, A.; Morresi, D.; Garbarino, M.; Foster, D. E.; Stephens, S. L.; Urbinati, C.. - In: FIRE. - ISSN 2571-6255. - 5:6(2022). [10.3390/fire5060180]

Burn Severity Drivers in Italian Large Wildfires

Malandra F.
Primo
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Vitali A.
Secondo
Writing – Review & Editing
;
Urbinati C.
Ultimo
Supervision
2022-01-01

Abstract

The increase of wildfire incidence in highly populated areas significantly enhances the risk for ecosystems and human lives, activities and infrastructures. In central and southern Italy, recent decades' fire records indicate that 2007 and 2017 were extreme years in terms of the number of fires and total burned area. Among them, we selected large fire events and explored their features and drivers of burn severity. We used a standardized extraction procedure to identify large wildfires (>100 ha) from the MODIS burned areas database and Landsat multi-spectral images. We mapped burn severity with the Relative Difference Normalized Burn Ratio index and explored the main drivers of severity using topographic, land-cover and anthropogenic predictors. We selected 113 wildfires for a collective total burned area of over 100,000 ha. Large fires were more frequent in the southern than in the central and northern regions, especially in July and August. The average fire size was about 900 ha and occurred mainly in shrublands (30.4%) and broadleaf forests (19.5%). With a random forest model, we observed that the highest severity occurred in conifer plantations and shrublands, in highly populated areas and at lower elevations. Burn severity models, at the landscape or regional scales, can be very useful tools for pre- and post-fire forest management planning.
2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11566/314381
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