Influence of climatic factor of changes in forest fire danger and fire season length in Turkey

Ertugrul M., Varol T., Ozel H. B., Çetin M., Sevik H.

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, vol.193, no.1, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 193 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10661-020-08800-6
  • Journal Name: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, ABI/INFORM, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Compendex, EMBASE, Environment Index, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Geobase, Greenfile, MEDLINE, Pollution Abstracts, Public Affairs Index, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Climate, Fire season, Forest fire, Temperature, Turkey
  • Ondokuz Mayıs University Affiliated: No


In contrast to the expectations of an increase in annual fire activity and the severity of fire season due to climate change and large fires, which have been occurring in recent years, a downtrend has been identified in fire activity in many studies conducted for the whole of Europe in recent years. Similarly, in Turkey, according to the General Directorate of Forestry statistics, while there is an increase in the number of annual fires, the burnt area has a downtrend pattern. In this study, fire activity and climate data statistics for Turkey were examined along with the fire season length and severity. The results obtained conform with the studies conducted in places from Spain at the westernmost part of Mediterranean Europe to Israel at the easternmost part of the Mediterranean. Considering the changes in temperatures, temperature rise of 2 to 3 °C was detected at all stations in the study area. No decrease was observed in the average temperatures at any of the stations within the study period between 1940 and 2018. On the other hand, the precipitation trend varied according to the stations. Although there have been increases in precipitation in Fethiye, Isparta, and Marmaris since 1960, the decrease in precipitation by 132 mm in Afyon since 1970 and the decrease in precipitation by 137 mm in Bodrum since 1940 are attention-grabbing. These stations are followed by Izmir station with 66 mm and Cesme station with 37 mm of decrease, despite being smaller decreases. In the study, the long-term (1940–2018) data of the meteorological stations discussed within the study, the Canadian Fire Weather Index (FWI) and the Fine Fuel Moisture Code (FFMC) values were calculated. According to the FWI results used in determining the severity and length of fire season on the coastline of Turkey from the northern Aegean to Antalya, the likelihood of large fires decreased by about 52% in 2018 compared to 1970. This decrease in FWI value indicates that the fire severity is reduced. The specified decrease in fire severity also explains the reason of the decrease in the burnt area that occurred over the years in Turkey. No significant change was observed in the FFMC values indicating the possibility of human-induced fires between 1970 and 2018.