POLISH JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES, vol.23, pp.187-194, 2014 (SCI-Expanded)
This paper uses GIS to describe and evaluate forest fire risk considering the most important factors affecting fire behavior at fine scales. The study was implemented in Yesilova Forestry Enterprise in the Mediterranean city of Kahramanmaras, Turkey. To determine an overall fire risk index for the study area, fire risk rating (extreme, high, moderate, or low) was assigned to decision variables (i.e. species composition, stand development stage, stand crown closure, slope, insolation, settlements, and roads) according to their risk potentials. Additionally, the visibility analysis of fire towers was carried out for monitoring of forests in the case study area. Finally, visibility analysis and a forest fire risk map were evaluated together for determining the efficiency of fire towers. Results indicated that more than half of the total forested area (65.7%) was classified as low category in the fire risk map. According to visibility analysis, the existing fire tower was able to monitor only 37% of forest areas; therefore, it was essential to consider new fire towers for monitoring the overall study area. After locating a potential new fire tower in the study area, it was found that about 71.8% of the area was with the visible zones of two fire towers.