Siljander, M (2009). "Predictive fire occurrence modelling to improve burned area estimation at a regional scale: A case study in East Caprivi, Namibia". INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF APPLIED EARTH OBSERVATION AND GEOINFORMATION, 11(6), 380-393.
Fires threaten human lives, property and natural resources in Southern African savannas. Due to warming climate, fire occurrence may increase and fires become more intense. It is crucial, therefore, to understand the complexity of spatiotemporal and probabilistic characteristics of fires. This study scrutinizes spatiotemporal characteristics of fires and the role played by abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic factors for fire probability modelling in a semiarid Southern African savanna environment. The MODIS fire products: fire hot spots (MOD14A2 and MYD74A2) and burned area product MODIS (MCD45A1), and GIS derived data were used in analysis. Fire hot spots occurrence was first analysed, and spatial autocorrelation for fires investigated, using Moran's I correlograms. Fire probability models were created using generalized linear models (GLMs). Separate models were produced for abiotic, biotic, anthropogenic and combined factors and an autocovariate variable was tested for model improvement. The hierarchical partitioning method was used to determine independent effects of explanatory variables. The discriminating ability of models was evaluated using area under the curve (AUC) from the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) plot. The results showed that 19.2-24.4% of East Caprivi burned when detected using MODIS hot spots fire data and these fires were strongly spatially autocorrelated. Therefore, the autocovariate variable significantly improved fire probability models when added to them. For autologistic models, i.e. models accounting for spatial autocorrelation, discrimination was good to excellent (AUC 0.858-0.942). For models not counting spatial autocorrelation, prediction success was poor to moderate (AUC 0.542-0.745). The results of this study clearly showed that spatial autocorrelation has to be taken in to account in the fire probability model building process when using remotely sensed and GIS derived data. This study also showed that fire probability models accounting for spatial autocorrelation proved to be superior in regional scale burned area estimation when compared with MODIS burned area product (MCD45A1). (c) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.