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RxCADRE: Prescribed fire combustion and atmospheric dynamics research experiment

Status: 
Action
Dates: 
January, 2008 to December, 2016

Researchers with RxCADRE collected integrated data across several fire-related disciplines during prescribed burns in longleaf pine ecosystems.
Researchers with RxCADRE collected integrated data across several fire-related disciplines during prescribed burns in longleaf pine ecosystems.
Outputs from fire models play a critical role in natural resource management decision making. However, most of the models used today have not been scientifically evaluated nor have their outputs been verified because of a lack of quality-assured data. This lack of integrated datasets across key fire-related disciplines, including fuels, meteorology, fire behavior, radiative power and energy, emission, and fire effects, reduces both our ability to evaluate fire and smoke models and to answer fundamental fire science questions.

The lack of co-located, multi-scale measurements and datasets became clear following discussions within the Core Fire Science Caucus, a group of 30 scientists that meet periodically to discuss fire behavior research, identify knowledge gaps, and outline a strategic direction for continued research. One outcome of the Caucus interaction was the Prescribed Fire Combustion and Atmospheric Dynamics Research Experiment (RxCADRE), which provided an opportunity for leading scientists to come together and collect fire datasets on large operational prescribed fire and small replicate burn-blocks in longleaf pine ecosystems of the southeastern United States.

The goal of RxCADRE was to develop synergies between fuel, atmospheric conditions, fire behavior, radiative energy, smoke generation, and fire effects measurements for fire model development and verification. Outcomes include unit-scale, high-resolution fire progression and heat release datasets that are useful for validating fire behavior and fire effects models, including computational fluid dynamics-based fire behavior simulators such as WFDS and FIRETEC.

Approach

RxCADRE researchers deployed an aerostat emissions sampling unit to measure smoke from prescribed burns.
RxCADRE researchers deployed an aerostat emissions sampling unit to measure smoke from prescribed burns.
The RxCADRE project evolved to collect, reduce, and complete a preliminary analysis of integrated, quality-assured data on small replicate (≈5 ha) and large operational (500+ ha) prescribed fire burn-blocks in longleaf pine ecosystems. Data were collected for seven large operational prescribed fires in 2008 and 2011 at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, and the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, GA. In 2012, we the Joint Fire Science Program sponsored continuation and expansion of this effort to include an additional six small replicate and three operational prescribed burn-blocks on Eglin Air Force Base.

Over 90 scientists and technicians from 15 different federal agencies, universities, and other organizations participated during the campaign. The RxCADRE project organized its data collection around a stepwise, hierarchical structure with six major discipline areas including fuels, meteorology, fire behavior, radiative power and energy, emissions, and fire effects. Burn-blocks were located in grass, grass/shrub, and managed southern pine forest fuelbeds at both fine and operational scales.

Data were collected on pre-burn fuel loads, and during the prescribed fires, research teams measured ambient weather, in situ convective dynamics, plume dynamics, radiant and convective heat release (both from in situ and remote sensors), and in situ fire behavior. Post-burn consumption and selected fire effects were determined after the burns.

During 2013 and 2014, data were quality assured, reduced, and formatted for placement into the U.S. Forest Service Research Data Archive, which is accessible to all for purposes of evaluating and improving fire models and advancing knowledge in the area of wildland fire science. Preliminary results have been presented at several conferences, workshops, training courses. Ten papers have been submitted for review and publication as a special issue of the International Journal of Wildland Fire in 2015.

Additional information on the RxCADRE project is available on our Pacific Northwest Research Station project page and our Rocky Mountain Research Station Fire Lab project page.

Publications

Butler, Bret W. ; Ottmar, R.D. ; Rupp, T.S. ; Jandt, R. ; Miller, E. ; Howard, K. ; Schmoll, R. ; Theisen, S. ; Vihnanek, R.E. ; Jimenez, D. , 2013
Nelson, Ralph M. Jr. ; Butler, Bret W. ; Weise, David R. , 2012
Frankman, David ; Webb, Brent W. ; Butler, Bret W. ; Jimenez, Daniel ; Forthofer, Jason M. ; Sopko, Paul A. ; Shannon, Kyle S. ; Hiers, J. Kevin ; Ottmar, Roger D. , 2012
Frankman, David ; Webb, Brent W. ; Butler, Bret W. ; Jimenez, Daniel ; Harrington, Michael , 2012
Frankman, David ; Webb, Brent W. ; Butler, Bret W. ; Latham, Don J. , 2010

Other

Submitted publications

Ottmar, R.D., K.H. Hiers, C.B. Clements, B. Butler, M.B. Dickinson, B. Potter, J.J. O’Brien, A.T. Hudak, E.M. Rowell, and T.J. Zajkowski. (Submitted) Measurements, datasets and preliminary result from the RxCADRE project. Special Issue, International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Ottmar , R.D., A.T. Hudak, C.S. Wright, R.E. Vihnanek, and J.C. Restaino. (Submitted) Pre- and postfire surface fuel and cover measurements—RxCADRE 2008, 2011, and 2012. Special Issue, International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Rowell, E.M., C.A. Seielstad, and R.D. Ottmar. (Submitted) Development and validation of fuel height models for terrestrial lidar— RxCADRE 2012. Special Issue, International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Clements, C.B., N. Lareau, D. Seto, J. Contezac, B. Davis, C. Teske, B. Butler, and D. Jimenez. (Submitted) Meteorological measurements and fire weather conditions-RxCADRE 2012. Special Issue, International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Hudak, A.T., M.B. Dickinson, B.C. Bright, R.L. Kremens, L.E. Loudermilk, J.J. O’Brien, B. Hornsby, and R.D. Ottmar. (Submitted) Measurements relating fire radiative energy density and surface fuel consumption—RxCADRE 2011 and 2012. Special Issue, International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Butler, B., C. Teske, D. Jimenez, J.J. O’Brien, P. Sopko, C. Wold, M. Vosburgh, B. Hornsby, and E. Loudermilk. (Submitted) Observations of fire intensity and fire spread rate—RxCADRE 2012. Special Issue, International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Dickinson, M.B., A,T. Hudak, T. Zajkowski, L.E. Loudermilk, W. Schroeder, L. Ellison, R.L. Kremens, W. Holley, O. Martinez, A. Paxton, B.C. Bright, J.J. O’Brien, B. Hornsby, C. Ichoku, J. Faulring, A. Gerace, D. Peterson, and J. Mauseri. (Submitted) Ground, airborne, and satellite measurements of fire radiative power—RxCADRE 2012. Special Issue, International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Dickinson, M.B., and R.L. Kremens. (Submitted) Accessory publication 1 to Dickinson et al. Calibration procedures for single-band WASP LWIR data-incorporating spectral sensor response and atmospheric transmission. Special Issue, International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Ellison, L., and C. Ichoku. (Submitted) Accessory publication 2 to Dickinson et al. Alternative methods for estimating fire radiative power from MODIS observations when fire boundaries are known. Special Issue, International Journal of Wildland Fire. 69

Zajkowski, T.J., M.B. Dickinson, K.J. Hiers, W. Holley, B.W. Williams, A. Paxton, O. Martinez, and G.W. Walker. (Submitted) Testing and use of remotely piloted aircraft systems—RxCADRE 2012. Special Issue, International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Strand, T., B. Gullett, S. Urbanski, S.O. O’Neill, B. Potter, J. Aurell, A. Holder, N. Larkin, M. Moore, and M. Rorig. (Submitted) Smoke and emissions measurements— RxCADRE 2012. Special Issue, International Journal of Wildland Fire.

O’Brien , J., L.E. Loudermilk, B. Hornsby, A.T. Hudak, B.C. Bright, M.B. Dickinson, K.J. Hiers, and R.D. Ottmar (Submitted) High resolution infrared thermography measurements for capturing fire behavior in wildland fires—RxCADRE 2012. Special Issue, International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Archived data

Hudak, A.T., B.C. Bright and K.L. Satterberg. 2015. RxCADRE 2008, 2011, and 2012: Lidar data and derived raster products. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. http://dx.doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2015-0010

Hudak, A.T., and B.C. Bright. 2014. RxCADRE 2008, 2011, and 2012: Burn blocks. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. http://dx.doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2014-0030

Hudak, A.T., and B.C. Bright. 2014. RxCADRE 2008, 2011, and 2012: Clip plot locations. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. http://dx.doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2014-0029

Hudak, A.T. 2014. RxCADRE 2008, 2011, and 2012: Ground cover fractions. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. http://dx.doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2014-0028

Other deliverables

In November 2012, the Discovery Channel Canada filmed a Daily Planet segment on the prescribed fires burned at Eglin Air Force Base as part of the RxCADRE fire research study.

A special session on RxCADRE was held at the 4th Conference on Fire Behavior and Fuels in Raleigh, North Carolina, February 17-22, 2013.



Project Contact: 

Principal Investigators:
Roger Ottmar - Pacific Northwest Research Station

Co-Investigators:
Matt Dickinson - Northern Research Station
Joe O’Brien - Southern Research Station
Brian Potter - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Craig Clements - San Jose State University
Carl Seielstad - University of Montana

Research Staff:
Casey Teske - University of Montana

Funding Contributors:
Joint Fire Science Program
National Fire Plan