Global Wildfire Susceptibility Mapping Based on Machine Learning Models

Assaf Shmuel, Eyal Heifetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Wildfires are a major natural hazard that lead to deforestation, carbon emissions, and loss of human and animal lives every year. Effective predictions of wildfire occurrence and burned areas are essential to forest management and firefighting. In this paper we apply various machine learning (ML) methods on a 0.25 monthly resolution global dataset of wildfires. We test the prediction accuracies of four different fire occurrence classifiers: random forest (RF), eXtreme Gradient Boosting (XGBoost), multilayer perceptron (MLP) neural network, and a logistic regression. Our best ML model predicts wildfire occurrence with over 90% accuracy, compared to approximately 70% using a logistic regression. We then train ML regression models to predict the size of burned areas and obtain an MAE score of 3.13 km2, compared to 7.48 km2 using a linear regression. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to be conducted in such resolution on a global dataset. We use the developed models to shed light on the influence of various factors on wildfire occurrence and burned areas. We suggest building upon these results to create ML-based fire weather indices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1050
JournalForests
Volume13
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • XGBoost
  • fire weather
  • machine learning
  • neural networks
  • random forest
  • wildfires

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