Fire patterns in pinyon and juniper land cover types in the semi-arid West (1984-2013)

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This study evaluated spatio-temporal patterns of fire in piñon and juniper land cover types from the National Gap Analysis Program using Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS 2016) data (1984 through 2013) for Northern and Southern Intermountain and Central and Southern Rocky Mountain geographic regions. It also examined differences in total area burned, fire rotation, fire size, fire number, and fire season among: 1) the four geographic regions; 2) the EPA level III ecoregions that occur within each geographic region; and 3) the piñon and juniper land cover types (woodlands, savannas, and shrublands) and other land cover types that occur within each geographic region and level III ecoregion. We found that area burned during the 30-year period, number of fires each year, and fire size followed a strong geographic pattern: Northern Intermountain > Southern Intermountain > Southern Rocky Mountain > Central Rocky Mountain. Area burned within piñon and juniper land cover types increased significantly during the 30-year period across the study area overall and for each geographic region, except the Southern Intermountain.

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