WIRC Fire Climate Research

The Fire Climate Research group led by Dr. Brown focuses on the interactions between fire and climate. Wildfire characteristics are highly influenced by the background climatic environment in which they occur. Thus, it is inevitable that as the climate continues to change, characteristics of wildfires such as their favored locations, frequency, intensity, size and duration will change as well. In fact, long-term changes in wildfire activity have emerged as one of the most prominent impacts of climate change both through their direct effects on forests and infrastructure as well as through secondary effects like reduced air and water quality.
While it is well-established that changes in underlying climatic conditions affect wildfire activity through changes in weather (temperature, antecedent precipitation, relative humidity, windiness), fuel moisture, vegetation type, and lightning ignitions, there remains great uncertainty regarding the sign, magnitude, geography, and seasonality of those changes. Our work disentangles this multitude of influences and seeks to generate detailed information (in space, season, and through time) on the climatic influence on wildfires. This is accomplished via investigations of 1) the historical (empirical) relationships between various fire weather ingredients and wildfire activity; 2) through high spatiotemporal coupled land-atmosphere wildfire modeling and 3) through the incorporation of knowledge gained in 1 and 2 into existing projections of climate, vegetation and land-use change. Edit the content.