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Fire History

Fire-scarred cross section from a ponderosa pine (photo © P.M. Brown)                    charcoal deposition graphic                   Sediment core collection from a mountain lake (photo © C. Whitlock)

The International Multiproxy Paleofire Database (IMPD) is an archive of fire history data derived from natural proxies. The IMPD, which includes data from tree scars and establishment data, and charcoal in sediment records, has been established with guidance from an Advisory Board to provide a permanent repository for high-quality paleofire records from around the world. For more information about paleofire data, see our Introduction to Fire History Reconstruction.

Obtaining Data at the World Data Center

Search Datasets

  • Fire History Search Engine
    Search through fire history studies using Investigator, Title, Location Name, Parameters, and Latitude/Longitude Bounds.
  • Interactive Map
    Select study locations by region, proximity to a point, or text-based attributes.
  • Google Earth Map
    Locate and download fire history studies using a Google Earth map interface. Google Earth must be installed to use this search tool.
  • Global Charcoal Database
    Access two versions of the database (Microsoft Access format), each containing the respective complete set of site, sample, dating, and charcoal data:

    • Version 1 used in the paper: Power, M.J., et al., 2008: Changes in fire regimes since the Last Glacial Maximum: an assessment based on a global synthesis and analysis of charcoal data. Climate Dynamics, 30, 887–907, doi:10.1007/s00382-007-0334-x.
    • Version 3 used in the paper: Marlon, J.R., et al., 2015: Reconstructions of biomass burning from sediment charcoal records to improve data-model comparisons. Biogeosciences, 13, 3325–3244, doi:10.5194/bg-13-3225-2016.
  • Tree-Ring Based Fire History File Names and Formats
    Access a description of the file naming conventions and the file formats used in our fire scar data archive.
  • Charcoal-Sediment Based Fire History File Names and Formats
    Access a description of the file naming conventions and the charcoal sediment data file format.
  • Search All Paleoclimatology Data
    Access a free text search of our entire study archive.
  • NCEI Paleo Web Service
    ​Harvest fire history study metadata records using the NCEI Paleo Web Service.

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Contributing Data