Special Issue "Extreme Fire Events, Ecosystem Resilience, and Human Well-Being"

A special issue of Fire (ISSN 2571-6255).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Daniel G. Neary
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC 20227, USA
Interests: watershed hydrology; water resources management; forest hydrology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Grant Harley
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geography, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA
Interests: dendrochronology; paleoclimatology; climate change; wildfire; drought; cave and karst environments
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Sean Michaletz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, 2212 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4 Canada
Interests: plant physiological ecology; macroecology; fire behavior and effects
Dr. Carl A. Seielstad
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Fire Science & Management, UM FireCenter Program Director - Fire and Fuels, College of Forestry and Conservation, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
Interests: fuels; fire behavior; fire ecology; remote sensing; lidar; forest structure

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue intends to begin documenting the global occurrence of extreme wildfires, the conditions leading to them, their behavior, and their effects on ecosystems and humans.  Recent scientific findings have bolstered hypotheses that climate change is aggravating wildfire conditions in many parts of the world, resulting in longer fire seasons, larger burned areas, higher fire severities, and increased impacts on humans. For example, areas affected directly by wildfires in the southwestern USA have increased dramatically from <10,000 ha yr-1 in the early 20th century to over 230,000 ha yr-1 in the first decade of the 21st century, with some of the burned landscapes now following divergent successional pathways to novel ecological conditions. A combination of drought, abnormal weather conditions, excessive fuel loads, invasive species, land-use change, and increased ignitions is producing the perfect conditions for fire-induced desertification in many parts of the world. Desertification is about the loss of hydrologic function, biological productivity, and other ecosystem services, and it now affects 75% of the Earth’s land surface and over a billion people. Some of the environmental consequences of extreme wildfires are vegetation injury and mortality, plant species and type shifts, exotic plant invasions, wildlife habitat destruction, soil erosion, floods, watershed function decline, water supply disruption, air pollution, and direct human impacts. All of these impacts affect human well-being directly or indirectly, and many will persist beyond the careers and lifetimes of individuals. Although many ecosystems often return to normal dynamic states after wildfires, others may be permanently altered, shifted to lower system states and providing fewer services.

In order to begin understanding how extreme wildfires are challenging ecological resilience and impacting human well-being, we invite the submission of articles on the topics of extreme wildfire events, wildfire induced landscape degradation, ecosystem resilience, and fire impacts on human well-being, including but not limited to:

  • Descriptions of extreme wildfire events and their scales
  • Criteria distinguishing extreme wildfires from other wildfires
  • Wildfire effects across biological scales (organs to ecosystems)
  • Wildfire-induced desertification/degradation
  • Forest and grassland resilience (or lack of) to wildfire disturbance
  • Approaches to assist ecosystem recovery after extreme wildfire events
  • Resilience (or lack) of wildlife populations to extreme wildfire events
  • Wildfire impacts on infrastructure
  • Water supply disturbance after severe wildfires
  • Human health impacts of extreme wildfire events

We seek a global perspective.

Dr. Daniel G. Neary
Dr. Grant Harley
Dr. Sean Michaletz
Dr. Carl A. Seielstad
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Fire is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Geographic Patterns of Fire Severity Following an Extreme Eucalyptus Forest Fire in Southern Australia: 2013 Forcett-Dunalley Fire
Fire 2018, 1(3), 40; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fire1030040 - 22 Oct 2018
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2832
Abstract
Fire severity is an important characteristic of fire regimes; however, global assessments of fire regimes typically focus more on fire frequency and burnt area. Our objective in this case study is to use multiple lines of evidence to understand fire severity and intensity [...] Read more.
Fire severity is an important characteristic of fire regimes; however, global assessments of fire regimes typically focus more on fire frequency and burnt area. Our objective in this case study is to use multiple lines of evidence to understand fire severity and intensity patterns and their environmental correlates in the extreme 2013 Forcett-Dunalley fire in southeast Tasmania, Australia. We use maximum likelihood classification of aerial photography, and fire behavior equations, to report on fire severity and intensity patterns, and compare the performance of multiple thresholds of the normalised burn ratio (dNBR) and normalized difference vegetation index (dNDVI) (from pre- and post-fire Landsat 7 images) against classified aerial photography. We investigate how vegetation, topography, and fire weather, and therefore intensity, influenced fire severity patterns. According to the aerial photographic classification, the fire burnt 25,950 ha of which 5% burnt at low severities, 17% at medium severity, 32% at high severity, 23% at very high severities, while 22% contained unburnt patches. Generalized linear modelling revealed that fire severity was strongly influenced by slope angle, aspect, and interactions between vegetation type and fire weather (FFDI) ranging from moderate (12) to catastrophic (>100). Extreme fire weather, which occurred in 2% of the total fire duration of the fire (16 days), caused the fire to burn nearly half (46%) of the total area of the fireground and resulted in modelled extreme fireline intensities among all vegetation types, including an inferred peak of 68,000 kW·m−1 in dry forest. The best satellite-based severity map was the site-specific dNBR (45% congruence with aerial photography) showing dNBR potential in Eucalyptus forests, but the reliability of this approach must be assessed using aerial photography, and/or ground assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Fire Events, Ecosystem Resilience, and Human Well-Being)
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Article
Did Fine Particulate Matter from the Summer 2016 Landscape Fires in Tasmania Increase Emergency Ambulance Dispatches? A Case Crossover Analysis
Fire 2018, 1(2), 26; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fire1020026 - 24 Jul 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2000
Abstract
During summer in early 2016, over 70 landscape fires in Tasmania (Australia) caused several severe episodes of fire smoke across the island state. To assess the health impact of the fire smoke, a case crossover analysis was performed, which measured the association between [...] Read more.
During summer in early 2016, over 70 landscape fires in Tasmania (Australia) caused several severe episodes of fire smoke across the island state. To assess the health impact of the fire smoke, a case crossover analysis was performed, which measured the association between increased concentrations of PM2.5 and emergency ambulance dispatches (EAD) from 1 January to 31 March 2016. Control days were matched by latitude and longitude, day of the week and calendar month. Exposure data were obtained from air quality monitoring stations at lag times of 1–48 h and for the 24-h mean on the same day and 1-day lag. Positive associations were observed between an increase of 10 µg/m3 in PM2.5 and EAD for stroke on the same day (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.02–1.19) and at 1-day lag (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.02–1.18). Furthermore, there were non-significant increases in breathing problems (OR 1.04, 95% CI 1.00–1.08) and diabetic problems (OR 1.11, 95% CI 0.99–1.22) at 1-day lag. The EAD for all causes were not increased. These findings will be used for ambulance service planning and public health risk communication in future landscape fire events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Fire Events, Ecosystem Resilience, and Human Well-Being)
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