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Characterising weather patterns associated with fire in a seasonally dry tropical forest in southern India

Mondal, Nandita and Sukumar, Raman (2014) Characterising weather patterns associated with fire in a seasonally dry tropical forest in southern India. In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF WILDLAND FIRE, 23 (2). pp. 196-201.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF13002


Anthropogenic fires in seasonally dry tropical forests are a regular occurrence during the dry season. Forest managers in India, who presently follow a fire suppression policy in such forests, would benefit from a system of assessing the potential risk to fire on a particular day. We examined the relationship between weather variables (seasonal rainfall, relative humidity, temperature) and days of fire during the dry seasons of 2004-2010, based on MODIS fire incident data in the seasonally dry tropical forests of Mudumalai in the Western Ghats, southern India. Logistic regression analysis showed that high probabilities of a fire day, indicating successful ignition of litter and grass fuel on the forest floor, were associated with low levels of early dry season rainfall, low daily average relative humidity and high daily average temperatures. These weather conditions are representative of low moisture levels of fine fuels, suggesting that the occurrence of fire is moderated by environmental conditions that reduce the flammability of fine fuels in the dry tropics. We propose a quantitative framework for assessing risk of a fire day to assist forest managers in anticipating fire occurrences in this seasonally dry tropical forest, and possibly for those across South Asia.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: copyright for this article belongs to CSIRO PUBLISHING, 150 OXFORD ST, PO BOX 1139, COLLINGWOOD, VICTORIA 3066, AUSTRALIA
Keywords: ambient weather, fuel moisture, logistic regression, seasonal rainfall, temporal prediction of fire.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2014 09:08
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2014 09:08
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/49333

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