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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2017-380
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
24 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).
Modeling anthropogenic and natural fire ignitions in an inner-alpine valley
Giorgio Vacchiano1, Cristiano Foderi2, Roberta Berretti1, Enrico Marchi2, and Renzo Motta1 1Università degli Studi di Torino, Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Forestali e Alimentari, Grugliasco TO, 10095, Italy
2Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Gestione dei Sistemi Agrari, Alimentari e Forestali, Firenze, 50145, Italy
Abstract. Modelling and assessing the factors that drive forest fire ignitions is critical for fire prevention and sustainable ecosystem management. In southern Europe, the anthropogenic component of wildland fire ignitions is especially relevant. In the Alps, however, the role of fire as a component of disturbance regimes in forest and grassland ecosystems is poorly known. The aim of this work is to model the probability of fire ignition for an alpine region in Italy using a regional wildfire archive (1995–2009) and MaxEnt modeling. We analyzed separately: i) winter forest fires; ii) winter fires on grasslands and fallow land; iii) summer fires. Predictors were related to morphology, climate, and land use; distance from infrastructures, number of farms, and number of grazing animals were used as proxies for the anthropogenic component; collinearity among predictors was reduced by a Principal Component Analysis. 30 % of ignitions occurred in agricultural areas, 24 % in forests. Ignitions peaked in the late winter–early spring. Negligence from agro-silvicultural activities was the main cause of ignition (64 %); lightning accounted for 9 % of causes across the study timeframe, but increased from 6 % to 10 % between the first and second period of analysis. Models for all groups of fire had a high goodness of-fit (AUC 0.90–0.95). Temperature was proportional to the probability of ignition, and precipitation inverse proportional. Proximity from infrastructures had an effect only on winter fires, while the density of grazing animals had a remarkably different on summer (positive correlation) and winter (negative) fires. Implications are discussed regarding climate change, fire regime changes, and silvicultural prevention. Such spatially explicit approach allows to carry out spatially targeted fire management strategies, and may assist in developing better fire management plans.

Citation: Vacchiano, G., Foderi, C., Berretti, R., Marchi, E., and Motta, R.: Modeling anthropogenic and natural fire ignitions in an inner-alpine valley, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2017-380, in review, 2017.
Giorgio Vacchiano et al.
Giorgio Vacchiano et al.
Giorgio Vacchiano et al.

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Short summary
Here we show that wildland fires in an Italian alpine region are ignited mainly by human negligence. 30 % of fires stars in agricultural areas, 24 % in forests. Lightning plays a role in 10 % of the cases, but its importance has been increasing recently. Areas under hot, dry climate are more prone to fire. Cattle grazing reduces the fuel for winter fires, but increases ignition risk in summer. The maps of fire risk that we produce can help to support fire prevention and ecosystem management.
Here we show that wildland fires in an Italian alpine region are ignited mainly by human...
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