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Weather-based estimation of wildfire risk

  • Joanne Ho
  • Martin Odening

Catastrophic wildfires in California have become more frequent in past decades, while insured losses per event have been rising substantially. On average, California ranks the highest among states in the U.S. in the number of fires as well as the number of acres burned each year. The study of catastrophic wildfire models plays an important role in the prevention and mitigation of such disasters. Accurate forecasts of potential large fires assist fire managers in preparing resources and strategic planning for fire suppression. Furthermore, fire forecasting can a priori inform insurers on potential financial losses due to large fires. This paper describes a probabilistic model for predicting wildland fire risks using the two-stage Heckman procedure. Using 37 years of spatial and temporal information on weather and fire records in Southern California, this model measures the probability of a fire occurring and estimates the expected size of the fire on a given day and location, offering a technique to predict and forecast wildfire occurrences based on weather information that is readily available at low cost.

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File URL: http://sfb649.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/papers/pdf/SFB649DP2009-032.pdf
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Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2009-032.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2009-032
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  1. Wolfgang Härdle & Brenda López Cabrera, 2007. "Calibrating CAT bonds for Mexican earthquakes," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2007-037, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  2. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
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