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Post-fire analysis of pre-fire mapping of fire-risk: A recent case study from Mt. Carmel (Israel)

Paz, Shlomit, Carmel, Yohay, Jahshan, Faris, Shoshany, Maxim
Forest ecology and management 2011 v.262 no.7 pp. 1184-1188
case studies, fire spread, forest fires, models, risk, trees, Israel
The recent devastating wildfire on Mt. Carmel provided a unique opportunity to evaluate a fire-risk map constructed for the region, published two years ago in this journal. This largest forest fire in the history of Israel, occurred during December 2010, covering 2180ha, burning more than half-million trees and causing the loss of life of 45 people. A study of fire risk in this area was conducted between 2007 and 2009 utilizing a combination of Monte Carlo simulation of spatial spread of fire ignition with fire behavior model (FARSITE). The fire risk map produced in 2009 is assessed here with reference to the area burnt during December 2010. The results showed that most of burnt areas corresponded to high risk levels in the risk map. According to a null model, the five lower risk levels taken together would have corresponded to 50% of the burnt area, while in fact they were presented in only 5.6% of the area. In contrast, the three highest risk levels, for which the null model expectation would be a representation of 30%, were represented in 87% of the area. Comparing the fire risk map against the map of the real recent fire provided support to the general approach, and strengthened the confidence of our fire risk model.