Spatio-temporal Analysis of Fire Events in India: Implications for Environmental Conservation

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Volume 51, Issue 6 November 2008 , pages 817 – 832

Krishna Prasad Vadrevu; K. V. S. Badarinath; Anuradha Eaturu

“Information on fires in different geographic regions of India is relatively scarce. This study quantifies spatial and temporal patterns in fire occurrences covering different states and districts in India. Two important scientific questions are answered in this study: (1) how are the fire events distributed across different geographical regions? (2) are there any specific districts where fire events clustered across space and time? To address these questions, Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) derived satellite fire counts from 1997-2006 were used and the datasets were analysed using spatial scan statistic. Spatial scan statistic provides a test statistic for most likely ‘hotspot’ spatial clusters, based on the likelihood ratio test and Monte Carlo simulation. Results from geographical analysis based on state boundaries suggested Maharastra state had the highest number of fires followed by Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Orissa, etc., during the 10-year period. Among the several districts, the spatial scan statistic identified the most likely cluster of fire events in Dausa, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur, Bharatpur and Alwar in addition to several other secondary clusters, with high statistical significance. These results are based on a large sample of cases, and they provide convincing evidence of spatial clustering of fire events in the Indian region. Results relating to hotspot areas of fire risk can guide policy makers towards the best management strategies for avoiding damages to forests, human life and personal property in the ‘hotspot’ districts.”