Wednesday, 19 November 2003: 2:30 PM
Measuring the Effectiveness of Fuel Treatments in Changing Fire Behavior and Effects During Wildfires
Direct observation and measurement of fire behavior as it passes through fuel treatment areas is the most direct way to evaluate the effectiveness of fuel treatments. Concordant measurement of fuel conditions before the fire and fire behavior during the fire provide a direct means of evaluating which fuel metrics best relate to wildland fire behavior and improve fire behavior predictions. We have a rapid response team to measure fuel conditions pre- and post-fire, and fire behavior during wildland fire in areas with various fuel treatments and other past land-use management activities. During the fire season of 2003 we are prototyping techniques for such research. For each fire event, we: 1) rapidly obtain vegetation management history information; 2) obtain pre-fire aerial photography; 3) collect pre-fire fuels condition data ahead of the fire; 4) measure fire behavior through sites where we have measured fuels; and 5) measure some immediate post-fire effects and indirect measures of fire behavior. We capture and record all weather, fire behavior, topography, fuels, fire suppression actions and other pertinent information providing an overall context for the pattern of the fire. Fire behavior data collected includes heat flux (total, radiant, calculated convective), temperature, rate of spread, and visual patterns of fire spread and flame geometry. A new heat-trigger device is being employed to safely commence operation of video cameras. In 2002 and 2003, we successfully tested fire behavior equipment on a wildland use fire and prescribed fire. We will present preliminary results from 1 to 3 wildfires collected in 2003.