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

Monday, 17 November 2003
Fuels and Fire Behavior Vary by Fuel-Reduction Treatment and Landscape Position
Thomas A. Waldrop, USDA Forest Service, Clemson, SC; and H. H. Mohr and S. Rideout
The need for fuel reduction in forests of the United States has increased due to decades of fire exclusion. The National Fire and Fire Surrogate Study (NFFS) compares the impacts of three fuel reduction treatments on numerous ecological and economic variables. At an NFFS research site in the southeastern Piedmont, fuels were altered by burning, thinning, and the combination of burning and thinning. Fuel loads were examined across a landscape gradient before and after treatment to determine if these treatments could successfully protect forests during extreme wildfire conditions. Each combination of treatment and landscape position produced a unique fuel complex and altered microclimate by opening stands to wind and light. BehavePlus (Andrews et al. 2002) was used to predict wildfire behavior for each combination of treatment and landscape position. Fuel and weather data collected from each treatment area were used as inputs to simulate wildfire behavior for extreme weather conditions during the Piedmont fire season. Results suggest that most fuel-reduction treatments will protect residual trees from mortality and that fuel reduction may not be necessary at some landscape positions. The poster will exhibit fuel loads and fire behavior as they vary by treatment and landscape position.

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