Spatial distribution of ignitions in Mediterranean periurban and rural areas: The case of Catalonia

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Fire prevention requires a specific treatment subject to the innate characteristics of a territory and to the social interaction that takes place there. The present article deals with very different fire behaviors in two neighboring environments, in which unequal ignitory patterns have been identified. The analyzed environments constitute two prototypes of Mediterranean landscape in the region of Catalonia (Spain). The periurban-fire pattern is identified with the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona. The rural-fire pattern is observed in the county of Bages, with a far more sparse population structure. Sample observations were drawn from databases containing a compilation of ignitions occurring in these two environments during the period from 1987 to 1998. Analysis shows that the distribution of ignitions in the more urban areas is much more concentrated, whereas ignitions in rural areas are far more dispersed, and therefore more difficult to detect. The importance of the present article lies in the identification of the factors determining the patterns of development of ignitions in two very different territories, affected by diverse external pressures. Finally, guidelines for preventive policies adapted to these situations are given, taking into account the specific and differentiated characteristics relevant to each case.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-196
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2006


  • Chi-square test
  • Geographic information systems
  • Human and territorial factors
  • Mediterranean forest areas
  • Wildland-urban interface


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