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Seasonality and trends in human- and lightning-caused wildfires ≥ 2 ha in Canada, 1959-2018

Author(s): Sean C. P. Coogan, Xinli Cai, Piyush Jain, Michael D. Flannigan
Year Published: 2020
Description:

We examined the seasonal distribution of lightning- and human-caused wildfires ≥ 2 ha in Canada for two time periods: 1959-2018 and 1981-2018. Furthermore, we investigated trends in seasonality, number of fires per year and number of days with fire starts per year for human- and lightning-caused fires. Nationally, lightning fires peaked from June to August, whereas human fires peaked during May. There was, however, notable variation in the seasonal distributions of human- and lightning-caused fires between ecozones. Likewise, trends in season start and end dates varied among ecozones and time series, with trends generally being stronger for human-caused fires. Trends in the number of fires from 1959 to 2018 suggested significant increases in the number of lightning-caused fires and days with lightning ignitions across almost all ecozones, while from 1981 to 2018 there was a significantly decreasing trend in the number of human-caused fires and days with human ignitions in almost all ecozones. The highest densities of human-caused fires occurred in the Montane Cordillera and Atlantic Maritime, while the highest density of lightning-caused fires occurred in the Boreal Shield West. The Montane Cordillera and Taiga Shield West showed significant increases in the number of lightning fires and days with lightning ignitions across both time series.

Citation: Coogan, Sean C. P.; Cai, Xinli; Jain, Piyush; Flannigan, Michael D. 2020. Seasonality and trends in human- and lightning-caused wildfires ≥ 2 ha in Canada, 1959-2018. International Journal of Wildland Fire 29(6):473-485. https://doi.org/10.1071/WF19129
Topic(s): Fire Behavior, Weather
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 21477
FRAMES RCS number: 61375
Record updated: Jul 8, 2020