Natural and social factors influencing forest fire occurrence at a local spatial scale
Development of efficient forest fire policies requires an understanding of the underlying reasons behind forest fire ignitions. Globally, there is a close relationship between forest fires and human activities, i.e., fires understood as human events due to negligence (e.g., agricultural burning escapes), and deliberate actions (e.g., pyromania, revenge, land use change attempts). Wildfire occurrence even for human-ignited fires has also been shown to be dependent on biophysical variables (e.g., fuel conditions). Accordingly, this paper modelled the spatial risk of forest fire occurrence as a function of natural as well as socioeconomic variables. The study area is the region of Galicia (NW Spain). Our data include approximately 86,000 forest fires in nearly 3,800 Galician parishes, the unit of our study, during the ten years period 1999-2008, inclusive. The analysis combines spatial and non spatial econometric approaches to evaluate the consistency of the results and account for spatial autocorrelation in the fire ignitions data.