Modelling spatial patterns and temporal trends of wildfires in Galicia (NW Spain)

Jesús Barreal, Maria L. Loureiro


Aim of study: The goal of this paper is to analyse the importance of the main contributing factors to the occurrence of wildfires.

Area of study: We employ data from the region of Galicia during 2001-2010; although the similarities shared between this area and other rural areas may allow extrapolation of the present results.

Material and Methods: The spatial dependence is analysed by using the Moran’s I and LISA statistics. We also conduct an econometric analysis modelling both, the number of fires and the relative size of afflicted woodland area as dependent variables, which depend on the climatic, land cover variables, and socio-economic characteristics of the affected areas. Fixed effects and random effect models are estimated in order to control for the heterogeneity between the Forest Districts in Galicia.

Main results: Moran’s I and LISA statistics show that there is spatial dependence in the occurrence of Galician wildfires. Econometrics models show that climatology, socioeconomic variables, and temporal trends are also important to study both, the number of wildfires and the burned-forest ratio.

Research highlights: We conclude that in addition to direct forest actions, other agricultural or social public plans, can help to reduce wildfires in rural areas or wildland-urban areas. Based on these conclusions, a number of guidelines are provided that may foster the development of better forest management policies in order to reduce the occurrence of wildfires.

Keywords: Cause-effect relationship; climatology; spatial and temporal indicators; fixed effects; random effects; socio-economic factors.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2015242-05713