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Title: Canadian wildfires: a spatial-temporal assessment of fire activity and cause (1988 to 2018)
Authors: Wheeler, Amy
Keywords: wildfires;fire activity;forest biomes;Canada
Issue Date: 22-Apr-2020
Abstract: Vegetation zones such as the boreal forest in Canada have been shaped and maintained by naturally occurring wildfires for centuries. However, as global climates have warmed due to an increase in greenhouse gases within the atmosphere, there has been a profound impact on Canada’s forests. As fire activity continues to be very influential in altering forest biomes in Canada, it is important to analyze and evaluate these changes. The focus of this study is on assessing change in fire frequency, severity, and cause of fire disturbances in relation to where people reside in Canada. The timeframe for this study is a 30-year span, 1988 to 2018. The datasets utilized allowed for both temporal and spatial analysis of forest fires for each province and territory in Canada. Datasets were analyzed, and maps were developed using ESRI’s ArcMap GIS software. There has been an increase in both frequency and severity (in terms of area size) of forest fires over these 30 years. The main cause of this upsurge in fire activity is associated with lightning, but human accident fires have also steadily increased particular in proximity to Canada’s ecumene (where most people live). Human prescribed fires have also surged, especially in western Canada, as these deliberately set fires have become more necessary in efforts to safeguard Canada’s forest resource and vulnerable populations. As the geography of forest fire activity continues to evolve in Canada, this type of spatial-temporal research is useful to those who develop new policies, mitigation plans, and adaptation strategies to protect the vitality of forest ecosystems and the safety of Canadian populations
Appears in Collections:Undergraduate Theses

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