Vegetation fire activity and the Potential Fire Index (PFIv2) performance in the last two decades (2001–2016)

Alex S. da Silva, Flavio Justino, Alberto W. Setzer, Alvaro Avila-Diaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Fire incidence has been linked to multiple factors such as climate conditions, population density, agriculture, and lightning. Recently, fire frequency and severity have induced health problems and contributed to increase atmospheric greenhouse gases. Based on atmospheric susceptibility to fire, this study evaluates the use of a Potential Fire Index (PFIv2) to identify regions prone to fire development, as demonstrated by the satellite detected-fire in the 2001–2016 interval. It is demonstrated that PFIv2 delivers an efficiency by up to 80% in matching the observed fires from Terra/MODIS satellite. The PFIv2 is also able to reproduce more accurately areas with fire activity with respect to its previous version, the PFI. This better performance is linked to the implementation of parameterization of water pressure deficit and atmospheric stability in the lower troposphere, and a new term to represent the effect of surface temperatures, particularly in mid-latitudes and extra-Tropics. To evaluate the performance of the PFIv2 in more details, its comparison to MODIS burned areas demonstrated correlations values higher than 0.6 over the most susceptible regions such as Africa and South America, slightly lower correlation is found where fire does not primary follows the climate annual cycle, and is dominated by high frequency events. These findings indicate that the PFIv2 can be an important tool for decision makers in predicting the potential for vegetation fires development and fire danger.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E78-E92
JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Vegetation fire activity and the Potential Fire Index (PFIv2) performance in the last two decades (2001–2016)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this