Rapid changes in wildﬁre patterns are documented globally, increasing pressure to identify regions that may experience increases in wildﬁre in future decades. Temperate grassland and savanna biomes were some of the most frequently burned regions on Earth; however, large wildﬁres have been largely absent from the Great Plains of North America over the last century. In this paper, we conduct an in-depth analysis of changes in large wildﬁre (>400 ha) regime characteristics over a 30 year period across the Great Plains. For the entire biome, (i) the average number of large wildﬁres increased from 33.4 ± 5.6 per year from 1985 to 1994 to 116.8 ± 28.8 wildﬁres per year from 2005 to 2014, (ii) total area burned by large wildﬁres increased 400%, (iii) over half the ecoregions had greater than a 70% probability of a large wild ﬁre occurring in the last decade, and (iv) seasonality of large wildﬁres remained relatively similar.
Image Source: The Oklahomoan