A trend of increasing burned areas in Iraq from 2001 to 2019
journal contributionposted on 10.08.2020, 10:46 by A Rasul, GRF Ibrahim, HM Hameed, K Tansey
Wildfires have an important role in the ecological process affecting ecosystems at multiple spatial scales. MCD64A1 500 m burned area product is used in this study to document trends of fire events from 2001 to 2019. The research aims to analyze the trend of burned areas in the country. Iraq is selected as study area of the research because of dramatically increasing the number of fires in the country. The study found that the lowest amount of burned areas were located in the center and southwest, while northeast and north faced most of the fires. The trend of burned areas in Iraq was an increase of 71.7 km2 per year, and, principally, in the last years, burned areas increased by 1363 km2. The most extensive burning areas occurred in the Ninawa Governorate (29%). In 2019, burned areas increased to around eight times compared to the yearly average. During 2019, one of the highest classes which contain burned area is “Cropland, rainfed” with 4366 km2 burned. High maximum air temperature and wind speed are the main factors that contribute to increasing burned areas; however, high precipitation and air pressure lead to a reducing amount of burned areas. The rapid increase of fires in the country as a result of burn crop field residues will lead to worsening air pollution and likely decrease forest area in the future.