Predicting Wildfires and Measuring their Impacts: Case Studies in British Columbia




Xu, Zhen

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As the most destructive forest disturbance in British Columbia, wildfire becomes more worrisome for increasing uncertainty due to climate change. The current study investigates the potential to predict wildfire occurrence using climate indexes and quantify its marginal prices for property values at the municipal level, so as to provide a quantitative indicator for decision making in regard to influences of wildfire occurrence in the near future. First, significant correlations between monthly temperature and precipitation and large fire occurrence with distinctions in terms of distances to municipalities are proved by statistical analysis. Monthly wildfire occurrence are then statistically estimated with the four-month lags of the El Niño index and predicted using count models with regional differences. At last, the hedonic pricing model shows distance based positive impact of fire frequency and negative impact of fire size in neighbouring areas on property values.



Wildfire Occurrence, Geographical Information System Model, Climate Index, British Columbia Interior, Property Value