5th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology and the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress

Monday, 17 November 2003
Characterizing fuel before and after prescribed fire in an Appalachian hardwood forest on the Cumberland Plateau, Kentucky
Elizabeth Loucks, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY; and M. A. Arthur
It is well known that different fuels may affect fire intensity and severity, yet in central Appalachian hardwood forests, few studies have characterized fuels and the relationship between fuel loading and fire behavior. Further, it has been suggested that the litter of different deciduous tree species, such as oaks, are more flammable, but this needs to be tested in the context of landscape scale prescribed burning. Fuel loading was measured in January and February 2003 using Brown’s planar intercept transects method and by collecting 30 X 30 cm sections of the forest floor. Fuels were re-sampled after a severe ice storm in February 2003 and again after prescribed burns were conducted in each of three study areas in April 2003. Management prescribed fires were ignited either by hand or by helicopter, in early or mid-April, resulting in considerable variability in fire intensity and severity among the three study sites. Litter was the primary fuel that carried the fires, with reductions in woody fuel loads strongly influenced by ignition method and fuel moisture. Ice storms increased fuel loading and are undoubtedly an important vector for woody fuel additions; however, the greenness of the new fuels from the 2003 ice storm prevented them from burning.

Supplementary URL: