Sensitivity of US wildfire occurrence to pre-season soil moisture conditions across ecosystems

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This study found that cross-validated results generally indicate a higher occurrence of smaller fires when months preceding fire season are wet, while larger fires are more frequent when soils are dry. This is consistent with the concept of increased fuel accumulation under wet conditions in the pre-season. These results demonstrate the fundamental strength of the relationship between soil moisture and fire activity at long lead-times and are indicative of that relationship’s utility for the future development of national-scale predictive capability.