Forest Fires: An Example of Self-Organized Critical Behavior

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  18 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5384, pp. 1840-1842
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5384.1840

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text


Despite the many complexities concerning their initiation and propagation, forest fires exhibit power-law frequency-area statistics over many orders of magnitude. A simple forest fire model, which is an example of self-organized criticality, exhibits similar behavior. One practical implication of this result is that the frequency-area distribution of small and medium fires can be used to quantify the risk of large fires, as is routinely done for earthquakes.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: Bruce{at}Malamud.Com

View Full Text