SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Wildfires periodically burn large areas of chaparral and adjacent woodlands in autumn and winter in southern California. These fires often occur in conjunction with Santa Ana weather events, which combine high winds and low humidity, and tend to follow a wet winter rainy season. Because conditions fostering large fall and winter wildfires in California are the result of large-scale patterns in atmospheric circulation, the same dangerous conditions are likely to occur over a wide area at the same time.

Furthermore, over a century of watershed reserve management and fire suppression have promoted fuel accumulations, helping to shape one of the most conflagration-prone environments in the world [Pyne, 1997]. Combined with a complex topography and a large human population, southern Californian ecology and climate pose a considerable physical and societal challenge to fire management.