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Keywords:

  • wildfire;
  • fuels;
  • decision support;
  • carbon

In recent years, wildfires have emerged as an important part of the global environment. Carbon released from fires during combustion alters the global carbon balance. Smoke emissions are a health hazard to nearby communities [Wegesser et al., 2009], can impair air quality and visibility for hundreds of kilometers downwind (Interagency Modeling of Protected Visual Environments; http://vista.cira.colostate.edu/improve/Data/IMPROVE/improve_data.htm , 2004), and contribute substantially to the global aerosol budget [van der Werf et al., 2006]. As understanding about fire as a global ecosystem process improves [Bowman et al., 2009] and as more and more global fire databases are being built [Giglio et al., 2009], wildfires are increasingly emerging as an important component of Earth system models, particularly those that involve emissions from fires and their effects on climate.