Climate and fire for fuels management -- Episode 1: The invisible climate signal
Timothy J. Brown, DRI, Reno, Nevada; and N. Nauslar
Every year, thousands of prescribed and other appropriate managed fires are conducted across the country. These fires are begun and maintained under predefined weather and fuel prescriptions such as temperature, relative humidity and wind speed ranges. These values are determined to allow for controlled fire that will meet a specific management objective. With some exception for long duration events, climate information is not considered for managed burns. For example, climate is not an explicit prescription parameter for prescribed burns. However, there is clearly an underlying climate signal associated with the day-to-day weather leading up to and during the burn events. The value of knowing climate thresholds (a quantitative value of a climate index) in relation to managed fire business is: 1) provide information to reduce the risk of perimeter escape; 2) quantify a specific climate index that has the potential to be seasonally predicted for strategic fuels management planning. In this study, managed fires in the U.S. for 1980-2008 were examined in association with a number of climate indices to determine climate thresholds under which the managed fire took place. For example, results show that 70% of all managed fires in the U.S. occurred when the standardized precipitation index was neutral to wet. This presentation will provide a discussion of the need for quantitative climate information in fuels management, and provide some results of climate index thresholds in association with managed fires.
Session 6, Impacts of Weather and Climate on Wildfire
Wednesday, 14 October 2009, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Ballroom B
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