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Spatial analysis of wildfire incidence in the USA: the role of climatic spillovers

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  • Massimiliano Agovino

    (University of Naples Parthenope)

  • Massimiliano Cerciello

    (University of Naples Parthenope)

  • Aniello Ferraro

    (University of Naples Parthenope)

  • Antonio Garofalo

    (University of Naples Parthenope)

Abstract

Wildfires constitute a serious threat for both the environment and human well-being. The US fire policy aims to tackle this problem, devoting a sizeable amount of resources and resorting extensively to fire suppression strategies. The theoretical literature has established a link between climate conditions and wildfire incidence. Using state-level data from 2002 to 2013 for the USA, this work proposes a wildfire incidence indicator and runs a generalized spatial ordered probit model in order to test the findings of the previous literature empirically. Moreover, this article investigates the extent of spatial spillovers in the climatic covariates. The results highlight a significant impact of precipitation and temperature on fire incidence and provide some evidence of the role of spatial spillovers. In particular, transitions from lower to higher wildfire incidence levels are significantly encouraged by increases in local temperature and significantly discouraged by increases in both local precipitation and lagged precipitation. The present analysis complements the recent literature, confirming the previous findings with a solid empirical investigation and offering a policy-oriented picture of wildfire risks all over the USA.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimiliano Agovino & Massimiliano Cerciello & Aniello Ferraro & Antonio Garofalo, 2021. "Spatial analysis of wildfire incidence in the USA: the role of climatic spillovers," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 6084-6105, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:endesu:v:23:y:2021:i:4:d:10.1007_s10668-020-00863-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s10668-020-00863-2
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