Turco M., Jerez S., Doblas-Reyes F. J., AghKouchak A., LIasat M. C. & Provenzale A. (2018). Skilful forecasting of global fire activity using seasonal climate predictions. Nature Communications, 9, doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05250-0.
In many regions of our planet, forest fires pose a serious threat to homes and infrastructures, causing huge economic damage and also loss of lives. Although most fires are generated by human activities, either accidental or deliberate, the extent of the fire significantly depends on weather and climate conditions and on the characteristics of the ‘fuel’, in particular the moisture content and abundance of the burnable material. To provide an estimate of the areas at risk a few months in advance, and to implement adequate control and prevention measures, is obviously very important.
A recent study of the Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources of CNR, jointly with the Universities of Barcelona and other research Institutions, published on Nature Communications, analyses this problem and shows how to use seasonal forecasts from weather centres, combined with empirical models of fire behaviour, to obtain global-scale quantitative estimates of the expected burned area in the following months.