Fourth Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology

Wednesday, 14 November 2001: 11:10 AM
Spatial patterns of fuels and fire behavior at the “La Malinche” National Park in Central Mexico
Lourdes Villers-Ruiz, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, México City, Mexico; and E. C. Alvarado and J. López-Blanco
The devastating Mexico’s 1998 wildfire season and a better understanding of wildfires with climate anomalies, such as El Niño, sparked a renewed interest on fire behavior in Mexico. The objective of this paper is to present the spatial distribution patterns of fuels and predicted fire behavior in three vegetation types within the La Malinche National Park in Central Mexico.

The first phase of this work consisted in developing a vegetation type map using aerial photography and calibrated with field observations. Forest fuels were estimated by vegetation type. Expected fire behavior was calculated using Rothermel’s model under several slope and weather scenarios (Wind speed, direction, and fuel moisture). Predicted tree mortality by forest type is also presented.

Simulation results show that the Mexican sacred fir and oak stands have higher woody and live fuel loading than pine stands. This characteristic is also reflected in rate-of spread and fire line intensity. Mortality rate was higher for sacred fir. GIS layers of expected fire behavior and mortality rates were developed to support fire management practices at the National Park.

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