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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Masters Field Project

Department or Program Affiliation

Environmental Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Medler, Michael J.

Second Advisor

Flower, Aquila


The currently available fire-history data of Western North America (US/Canada) available for geographic and other analyses is largely piecemeal and difficult to find. Data from before the 1980s is scattered among many sources and held by a plethora of different agencies. The aim of this project was to change that daunting reality and provide a single dataset that would fill that data gap and make doing research on and mapping of fires in the late 19th and early 20th centuries more accessible.

This data encompasses 138 years (1880 - 2018), 12 US states, three Canadian provinces and two Canadian territories. Currently existing digital datasets were combined and streamlined into a single dataset with unified attributes and units. During this process, I found a total of 143,702 fires that totaled 1,793,542.62 sq. kilometers of burned area. The final data is available to the public via the web as a set of ESRI shapefiles.




wildfires, fire history, ecology, pyrogeography, environmental studies, geography, historic maps, data processing


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Wildfires--Canada--History--19th century; Wildfires--Canada--History--20th century; Wildfires--United States--History--19th century; Wildfires--United States--History--20th century; Wildfires--Canada--Statistics--19th century; Wildfires--Canada--Statistics--20th century; Wildfires--United States--Statistics--19th century; Wildfires--United States--Statistics--20th century; Statistics--Data processing; Databases; Canada--Historical geography--Maps; United States--Historical geography--Maps

Geographic Coverage

Canada; United States




masters theses




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