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Fire, Fuel and Smoke

Projects

Wildland fires emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases, particulate matter, and ozone precursors. This can have a significant negative effect on public health at multiple scales.
FPARDY (Fuel PARticle DYnamics), is one of many new efforts to explore surface fuel characteristics at the particle, layer, and fuelbed levels across major forest ecosystem types in the US northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) to develop a set of products that integrate these findings into standard fuel applications.
Recent research conducted at the Missoula Fire Lab has found that the amount of radiant heat in wildland fires is not sufficient to ignite fine fuel particles such as needles and grasses. Understanding the ignition process due to convective heating will allow for better prediction of the transition from surface to crown fire and crown fire spread, two aspects of wildland fire behavior that are largely misunderstood. Experiments are underway to determine if and how ignition due to convective heating is different than that from radiative heating.
Wildfire smoke can trigger severe pollution episodes with substantial impacts on public health.
Impacts of upwind wildfire emissions on CO, CO2, and PM2.5  concentrations in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The ecological, economic and health and safety concerns surrounding wildland fires are driving the need to better understand climate-fire interactions.
The ecological, economic, and health and safety concerns surrounding wildland fires are driving the need to better understand climate-fire interactions.
Exploring linkages between live wildland fuels, ignition, combustion and potential fire behavior.
Many large fires have occurred in recent decades across the western United States and projections predict this trend to continue with increasingly warmer and drier conditions, meaning extensive areas have and will burn severely. Accurate estimates of fuel conditions and vegetation recovery rates of various ecosystems with time since last burn would assist fuel and fire management decisions. Understanding vegetation response trajectories based upon burn severity and other post-burn indicators will increase our ability to effectively prioritize management options and planning to address long-term fuel and fire management objectives.
The cumulative area of LiDAR collections across multiple ownerships in the northwestern USA has reached the point that land managers of the USDA Forest Service (USFS) and other stakeholders would greatly benefit from a strategy for how to utilize LiDAR for regional aboveground biomass inventory. The need for Carbon Monitoring Systems (CMS) can be more robustly addressed by using not only available NASA satellite data products, but also commercial airborne LiDAR data collections.

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