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Fire, Fuel and Smoke


Flame residence time is critical to the spread of wildland fires; if it is less than the ignition time, the fire won’t spread. Better understanding of flame residence time and burning rate of fuel structures will allow for better fire spread and fire effects predictions.
Current operational fire behavior models are empirically based on fire spread through surface fuels and do not describe heating and combustion processes. RMRS Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program scientists and collaborators have developed a research program for understanding how fire spread occurs with a focus on live fuels and active crown fire.
In the interior West, western spruce budworm outbreaks often last for decades, but their impact on fire behavior is poorly understood. By isolating the effects of the insect on a single tree and simulating the tree in a three-dimensional fire model, researchers were able to identify precise links between western spruce budworm disturbance and fire behavior changes.
This study investigates the effects of burning petroleum fuel oil (diesel) and crude oil on soils.
Whitebark pine trees, a valuable keystone species that provides food to hundreds of wildlife species, cover a significant portion of national forests in the Northern Rocky Mountains but have been rapidly declining because of blister rust infections, mountain pine beetle outbreaks, and fire exclusion. A restoration technique called daylighting, in which competing trees that surround the whitebark pine are removed, is playing an increasing role in whitebark pine restoration.
Tree-rings are used to reconstruct fire and forest histories in central Oregon.
Experiments to Improve Agricultural Smoke Decision Support Tools
Researchers measured surface fuel litterfall and decomposition in the northern Rocky Mountains, United States. These rates were used to estimate fuel dynamics parameters in complex landscape models of fire and vegetation dynamics.