Fire-climate interactions in forests of the American Pacific coast
Article first published online: 23 SEP 2006
Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 33, Issue 18, September 2006
How to Cite
2006), Fire-climate interactions in forests of the American Pacific coast, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L18704, doi:10.1029/2006GL027502., , , and (
- Issue published online: 23 SEP 2006
- Article first published online: 23 SEP 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 AUG 2006
- Manuscript Received: 20 JUL 2006
 We investigate relationships between climate and wildfire activity between 1929 and 2004 in Pacific coast forests of the United States. Self-Organizing Mapping (SOM) of annual area burned in National Forests (NF) in California, Oregon, and Washington identifies three contiguous NF groups and a fourth group of NF traversed by major highways. Large fire years in all groups are dry compared to small fire years. A sub-hemispheric circulation pattern of a strong trough over the North Pacific and a ridge over the West Coast is characteristic of large fire years in all groups. This pattern resembles the Pacific North American (PNA) teleconnection and positive phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). A reverse PNA and negative PDO phase characterizes small fire years. Despite the effect of fire suppression management between 1929 and 2004, forest area burned is linked to climatic variations related to large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns.