An assessment of fire occurrence regime and performance of Canadian fire weather index in south central Siberian boreal region
T. Chu and X. Guo
Department of Geography and Planning, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N5C8, Canada
Received: 30 Jun 2014 – Accepted for review: 01 Jul 2014 – Discussion started: 23 Jul 2014
Abstract. Wildfire is the dominant natural disturbance in Eurasian boreal region, which acts as a major driver of the global carbon cycle. An effectiveness of wildfire management requires suitable tools for fire prevention and fire risk assessment. This study aims to investigate fire occurrence patterns in relation to fire weather conditions in the remote south central Siberia region. The Canadian Fire Weather Index derived from large-scale meteorological reanalysis data was evaluated with respects to fire regimes during 14 consecutive fire seasons in south central Siberian environment. All the fire weather codes and indices, including the Fine Fuel Moisture Code (FFMC), the Duff Moisture Code (DMC), the Drought Code (DC), the Buildup Index (BUI), the Initial Spread Index (ISI), and the Fire Weather Index (FWI), were highly reflected inter-annual variation of fire activity in south central Siberia. Even though human-caused fires were major events in Russian boreal forest including south central Siberia, extreme fire years were strongly correlated with ambient weather conditions (e.g. Arctic Oscillation, air temperature, relative humidity and wind), showing by in-phase (or positive linear relationship) and significant wavelet coherence between fire activity and DMC, ISI, BUI, and FWI. Time series observation of 14 fire seasons showed that there was an average of about 3 months lags between the peaks of fire weather conditions and fire activity, which should take into account when using coarse scale fire weather indices in the assessment of fire danger in the study area. The results are expected to contribute to a better reconstruction and prediction of fire activity using large-scale reanalysis data in remote regions in which station data are very few.
Chu, T. and Guo, X.: An assessment of fire occurrence regime and performance of Canadian fire weather index in south central Siberian boreal region, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., 2, 4711-4742, doi:10.5194/nhessd-2-4711-2014, 2014.