5th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology and the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress

Wednesday, 19 November 2003: 2:00 PM
A comparison of precipitation and drought indices related to fire activity in the US
Beth L. Hall, DRI, Reno, NV; and T. J. Brown
Poster PDF (272.5 kB)
There are several monthly precipitation and drought indices and variants available in the U.S. such as the Palmer Drought Severity Index and the Standardized Precipitation Index. Each one has been designed for specific drought related questions, and most of them are utilized in fire business for a variety of reasons (e.g., accessibility, understanding, tradition). Fire activity can be measured in terms of the number of starts and acres burned, and fire potential assessed from National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) indices such as the energy release component (ERC), ignition component (IC), and burning index (BI). This study examines drought and fire index relationships for U.S. climate divisions at monthly time scales for the purpose of understanding the role and context of these indices for fire management. A summary of drought indices and their relationship to fire indices will be given. Recommendations on the utilization of drought indices for fire management will be offered.

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