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Based on regional climate model simulations conducted with RegCM3 and NCEP Reanalyses, the impact of anomalous climate forcing on environmental vulnerability to wildfire occurrence in Africa is analyzed by applying the Potential Fire Index (PFI). Three different model-based vegetation distributions were analyzed for a present day simulation (1980-2000) and for the end of the twenty-first century (2080-2100). It was demonstrated that under current climate and vegetation conditions the PFI is able to reproduce the principal fire risk areas which are concentrated in the Sahelian region from December to March, and in subtropical Africa from July to October. Predicted future changes in vegetation lead to substantial modifications in magnitude of the PFI, particularly for the southern and subtropical region of Africa. The impact of climate changes other than through vegetation, was found to induce more moderate changes in the fire risk, and increase the area vulnerable to fire occurrence in particular in sub-Saharan. The PFI reproduces areas with high fire activity, indicating that this index is a useful tool for forecasting fire occurrence worldwide, because it is based on regionally dependent vegetation and climate factors.