Assessment of the Occurrence of Forest Fires in Pandemic Period by COVID-19 in Chile. Preliminary Backgrounds

07 October 2021

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CHILE – Abstract: The spatial and temporal behavior of the occurrence of forest fires in Chile was evaluated in the presence of COVID-19 and mobility restrictions. The fire period from 2015–2016 to 2020–2021 was considered and statistics on mobility restrictions were granted by the Government of Chile. The analysis was developed at different scales of geographic perception. At the national and regional levels, the global behavior of the occurrence was determined, and later at the communal level, the political territorial unit, to determine internal variations attributable to the mobility dynamics in the quarantine period. In the process, the meteorological background of the fire activity was also considered. The results indicate that it is possible to rule out a meteorological effect, based on the variation of the moisture content of fine fuel. There was also no statistical association between the humidity of the fuel and the variation in the occurrence of fires. It is concluded that the communes that presented the greatest mobility of people before the pandemic were those that obtained the greatest reduction in fires. The variation in mobility, the product of restriction measures, is a statistical predictor of the increase or decrease in fires.

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