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Spatial wildfire occurrence data for the United States, 1992-2013

Date: May 06, 2015

One-stop access to mappable information about 22 years of U.S. wildfires


To support research and other applications that require high-resolution spatial wildfire occurrence data for the United States from recent decades, RMRS Research Ecologist Karen Short acquired, standardized, error-checked, compiled, and evaluated the completeness of wildfire records for the period 1992-2013 from federal, state, and local fire reporting systems.

Nearly 2.7 million records were obtained from 37 sources of federal and non-federal wildfire data. After discarding records lacking values for core data elements and removing redundant reports, the resulting dataset consisted of 1.73 million wildfire records, each indicating the fire’s reported point of origin, discovery date, and final size. Additional elements like fire name and cause were included in the database and populated with values as available. While not part of the original fire reports, record identifiers that could be used to link to related wildfire data products, including a national dataset of satellite-derived fire perimeters, were also included for a subset of the fires.

The database was developed to support the national, interagency Fire Program Analysis system, but it has widespread utility in the fields of wildland fire science and management, as well as areas of ecological and geophysical research, including the carbon and climate sciences.

The third edition of the dataset archived at: http://dx.doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2013-0009.3.

Fire in ponderosa pine forest
Fire moving through a ponderosa pine forest. The “cat face” or fire scar on the ponderosa pine reveals that this tree has survived several past fires.

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