Tuesday, 18 November 2003: 8:00 AM
Development and application of fire behavior and fire effects models for the Southern Utah Fuel Management Demonstration Project
Fire behavior and fire effects models were originally developed to support fuel management decisions based on the need to restore or maintain desirable fuel or vegetation characteristics of the individual site or stand. However, landscapes are composed of stands with varying site potential and history that lead to varying fire behavior and effects potentials. A landscape fuel management program needs to be supported by models and data that reflect spatial and temporal differences in fuel, vegetation, and values at risk both within and between stands. In addition, a landscape fuel management program needs to be supported by models and data in a GIS environment to better analyze spatial and temporal differences in fuel, vegetation, and potential fire behavior and effects across large landscapes. In this paper, we describe methods we used to develop and apply a variety of models for an integrated landscape level fuels management project across roughly 15 million acres of Southern Utah. During the course of this project, we utilized a suite of computer based fire behavior and fire effects models developed here at the Fire Sciences Lab to aid us in developing fuel management strategies. Some of these models were calibrated for use in the Southern Utah project in their current form and some were upgraded for spatial applications. All models were parameterized for use specifically in fuel and vegetation types found in Southern Utah landscapes. FARSITE and FlamMap, were used on larger landscapes with input layers generated for the entire study area using local weathers conditions to better understand the weather, fuel, and landscape parameters contributing to varying fire severities and spread rates. A multiple pathway succession model called LANDSUM was used to simulate the range of variation in historical vegetation conditions across the study area and to simulate potential future landscapes using a number of management scenarios that portray future management alternatives. The NEXUS and FOFEM models were used for landscape level analyses of fire behavior and effects for a variety of weather and fuel moisture conditions using input data from the GIS. Stand level analyses to aid managers in developing more specific fuel treatment prescriptions were simulated using the newly developed Southern Utah variant to the Fire and Fuel Extension the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FFE-FVS).