Rising temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns associated with climate change will cause major shifts in global wildfire patterns, according to a new analysis by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and Texas Tech University.

The findings are reported in the April 8 issue of PLos ONE, an open-access, peer reviewed journal of the Public Library of Science.

Using thermal-infrared sensor data gathered by European Space Agency satellites between 1996 and 2006, the scientists examined the worldwide distribution of wildfire. With a global view of where wildfires occur, the researchers identified the common environmental characteristics they share and then incorporated that information into projections of warming in different regions of the world.

Hotspots vulnerable to large increases in wildfire between 2010 and 2039 included the western United States and the Tibetan plateau. Meanwhile, regions of northeast China and central Africa may become less fire prone.

“This is the first attempt to quantitatively model why we see fire where we see it across the planet,” said U.C. Berkeley researcher Max Moritz. “What is startling in these findings is the relatively rapid rate at which we’re likely to see very broad scale changes in fire activity for large parts of the planet.”