07 Jun 2022
07 Jun 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Seasonal fire danger forecasts for supporting fire prevention management in an eastern Mediterranean environment: the case study of Attica, Greece

Anna Karali1,2, Konstantinos V. Varotsos1, Christos Giannakopoulos1, Panagiotis P. Nastos2, and Maria Hatzaki2 Anna Karali et al.
  • 1Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, Athens, 15236, Greece
  • 2Laboratory of Climatology and Atmospheric Environment, Sector of Geography and Climatology, Department of Geology and Environment, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, 15784, Greece

Abstract. Forest fires constitute a major environmental and socioeconomic hazard in the Mediterranean. Weather and climate are among the main factors influencing forest fire potential. As fire danger is expected to increase under changing climate, seasonal forecasting of weather conditions conductive to fires is of paramount importance for implementing effective fire prevention policies. The aim of the current study is to provide high resolution (~9 km) probabilistic seasonal fire danger forecasts, utilizing the Canadian Fire Weather Index (FWI) for Attica region, one of the most fire prone regions in Greece and the Mediterranean, employing the fifth generation ECMWF seasonal forecasting system (SEAS5). Results indicate that FWI and its Initial Spread Index (ISI) sub-component, present statistically significant high discrimination scores and are proven respectively, marginally useful, and perfectly reliable in predicting above normal fire danger conditions. When comparing year-by-year the fire danger predictions with the historical fire occurrence obtained by the Hellenic Fire Service database, both seasonal FWI and ISI forecasts indicate a skill in identifying years with high fire occurrences. Overall, fire danger and its sub-components can potentially be exploited by regional authorities in fire prevention management regarding preparedness and resources allocation in the Attica region.

Anna Karali et al.

Status: open (until 27 Jul 2022)

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Anna Karali et al.

Anna Karali et al.


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Short summary
As climate change leads to more frequent and severe fires, forecasting fire danger before fire season begins can support fire management. This study aims to provide high resolution probabilistic seasonal fire danger forecasts in a Mediterranean environment and assess their ability to capture years with increased fire activity. Results indicate that forecasts are skillful in predicting above normal fire danger conditions and can be exploited by regional authorities in fire prevention management.