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Fire History

The International Multiproxy Paleofire Database (IMPD) is an archive of fire history data derived from natural proxies such as tree scars and charcoal and sediment records. The IMPD was 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.

Fire-scarred cross section from a ponderosa pine (photo © P.M. Brown).

Accessing Data at the World Data Service for Paleoclimatology

Search Fire History Datasets

Search through fire history studies using Investigator, Title, Location Name, Parameters, and Latitude/Longitude Bounds.

Launch Fire History Data Search

Search All Paleoclimatology Data

Access a free text search of our entire archive.

Launch Paleo Data Search

Interactive Map

Select study locations by region, proximity to a point, or text-based attributes.

Launch Interactive Map

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.

Download KMZ File

NCEI Paleo Web Service

Use the NCEI Paleo Web Service to access fire history study metadata records.

API Documentation

Global Charcoal Database

The Global Charcoal Database contains the complete set of charcoal site, sample, and dating data. There are two archived versions at NCEI:

  • 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.


Contributing Data

To contribute to the fire history archive, review our instructions for contributing data. Prospective data providers can email to submit data and study description information.