Publication Details

Di Virgilio, G., Evans, J., Clarke, H., Sharples, J., Hirsch, A. & Hart, M. (2020). Climate Change Significantly Alters Future Wildfire Mitigation Opportunities in Southeastern Australia. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (15), e2020GL088893.


©2020. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Prescribed burning is used globally to mitigate the risks of wildfires, with severe wildfires increasing in frequency in recent decades. Despite their importance in wildfire management, the nature of future changes to prescribed burn windows under global warming remains uncertain. We use a regional climate projection ensemble to provide a robust spatiotemporal quantification of statistically significant future changes in prescribed burn windows for southeastern Australia. There are significant decreases during months presently used for prescribed burning, that is, in March to May in 2060–2079 versus 1990–2009 across several temperate regions. Conversely, burn windows show widespread significant increases in June to August, that is, months when burns have rarely occurred historically, and also in spring (September–October). Overall, projected changes in temperature and fuel moisture show the most widespread and largest decreases (or increases) in the number of days within their respective ranges suitable for conducting burns. These results support wildfire risk mitigation planning.



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