GEP Professor and Students Publish Paper on Rainfall and Wildfires in California

September 27, 2021

Assistant Professor of Geography, Environment and PlanningDr. José Hernandez Ayala and SSU students Jenna Mann and Elisabeth Grosvenor published a study in the journal Earth & Space Science that focused on understanding the relationship between antecedent rainfall, excessive vegetation growth, and wildfires in California. The project was funded by an RSCAP Mini-grant from Sonoma State University. The main findings of the study are: 

  • Antecedent rainfall and vegetation growth exhibit more positive correlations with wildfire burned areas across California in most of the years in the 2001-2020 period
  • The active wildfire seasons of 2003, 2008, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020 in California were generally preceded by above average precipitation and anomalous vegetation growth
  • The largest wildfires in California history show a strong positive correlation between above average rainfall and anomalous vegetation growth
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