A thorough analysis of human impacts on interior Alaska's fire regime demonstrates that human activities have effects in populated areas. Two approaches were used to determine impacts: I examined three regions with very different populations, and also one large region to analyze suppression, ignition, and vegetation interactions. The Fairbanks Region, with a large human population and an extensive road system, differs from two other regions with low human populations and few roads. In the Fairbanks Region, humans have impacted fire regime by causing more fires in certain fuel types and doubling the length of the fire season. The Fairbanks Region, with a higher level of suppression than the other two regions, has less area of land burn, even after controlling for fuel type and a higher number of human ignitions. In areas designated for high protection, there is less area burned and more human caused starts. For interior Alaska as a whole, human ignitions and suppression have only a minor effect on fire regime, and climate strongly influences the total area burned. However, in populated areas and areas designated for high protection, human ignitions account for most of the area burned, and less area bums overall due to suppression.
Thesis (M.S.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2003
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