EGU General Assembly 2020
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the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Effects of meteorology on forest fires in India: A modeling study

Anasuya Barik and Somnath Baidya Roy
Anasuya Barik and Somnath Baidya Roy
  • Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Centre of Atmospheric Sciences, India (

Meteorology has a strong impact on forest fires. Meteorological parameters such as temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and precipitation alter the fuel loading in forests, control the changes in spatial distribution, intensity and frequency of forest fires and changes in forest fire season. Hence, it is important to understand the relationship between forest fires and meteorological factors and build models that can simulate these relationships.

The Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS) has been used globally to assess and predict the fire behavior in various forest ecosystems. The Fire Weather Index (FWI) of CFFDRS models the relationship between meteorology and forest fires. In this study we calibrate the FWI over Indian forests using percentile analysis and logistic regression technique and test the performance using satellite-derived (MODIS daily fire data from 2003-2018) fire count and Fire Radiative Power (FRP). As the Indian forest landscape is highly heterogeneous, we calibrate the FWI over 4 FWI zones namely Himalayan, Deciduous, Western Ghats and Thorn forests based on IGBP forest classification and Koppen climatic zones.  Five fire danger classes having thresholds of 99th, 95th, 90th, 80th and 70thof FWI percentiles have been defined with decreasing severity. Results show that the calibrated FWI is capable of simulating the forest fire behavior over India. Sensitivity studies show that temperature and relative humidity are the key controlling factors of forest fires over India.

This study is one of the first attempts to use fire models to simulate fire behavior over India. It can serve as a launchpad for further work on fire hazard prediction and effects of climate change on fire hazard in India.


How to cite: Barik, A. and Baidya Roy, S.: Effects of meteorology on forest fires in India: A modeling study, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-18317,, 2020

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