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Mapping Paleo-Fire Boundaries from Binary Point Data: Comparing Interpolation Methods



Fire history studies have traditionally emphasized temporal rather than spatial properties of paleo-fire regimes. In this study we compare four methods of mapping paleo-fires in central Washington from binary point data: indicator kriging, inverse distance weighting, Thiessen polygons, and an expert approach. We evaluate the results of each mapping method using a test (validation) dataset and receiver operating characteristic plots. Interpolation methods perform well, but results vary with fire size and spatial pattern of points. Though all methods involve some subjectivity, automated interpolation methods perform well, are replicable, and can be applied across varying landscapes.