Events > Probability and Statistics Seminar

Spatiotemporal modeling of extreme-wildfire risk

26/01/2022 Wednesday 26th January 2022, 17:00 ()  More
Thomas Opitz, INRAE - Biostatistique et Processus Spatiaux

Accurate spatiotemporal modeling of conditions leading to moderate and large wildfires provides better understanding of mechanisms driving fire-prone ecosystems and improves risk management. We here develop a joint model for the occurrence intensity and the wildfire size distribution by combining extreme-value theory and point processes within a novel Bayesian hierarchical model, and use it to study daily summer wildfire data for the French Mediterranean basin during 1995-2018. The occurrence component models wildfire ignitions as a spatiotemporal log-Gaussian Cox process. Burnt areas are numerical marks attached to points and are considered as extreme if they exceed a high threshold. The size component is a two-component mixture varying in space and time that jointly models moderate and extreme fires. We capture non-linear influence of covariates (Fire Weather Index, forest cover) through component-specific smooth functions, which may vary with season. We propose estimating shared random effects between model components to reveal and interpret common drivers of different aspects of wildfire activity. This leads to increased parsimony and reduced estimation uncertainty with better predictions. Fast approximate (but accurate) Bayesian estimation is carried out in the framework of the integrated nested Laplace approximation. Our methodology provides a holistic approach to explaining and predicting the drivers of wildfire activity and associated uncertainties.