Skip to Main Content
Time to ignition is influenced by both moisture content and soluble carbohydrates in live Douglas fir and Lodgepole pine needlesAuthor(s): Matt Jolly; Sara McAllister; Mark Finney; Ann Hadlow
Source: In: Viegas, D. X., ed. Proceedings of the VI International Conference on Forest Fire Research; 15-18 November 2010; Coimbra, Portugal. Coimbra, Portugal: University of Coimbra. 8 p.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
PDF: View PDF (270.08 KB)
DescriptionLiving plants are often the primary fuels burning in wildland fire but little is known about the factors that govern their ignition behavior. Moisture content has long been hypothesized to determine the characteristics of fires spreading in live fuels but moisture content alone fails to explain observed differences in the ignition of various species at different times of the year. Furthermore, little concern has been given to balance between the moisture content and chemical composition of live fuels and how this balance of might affect the net energy required to produce the combustible mixture of gases that is necessary for flaming combustion. Here we examine the time to ignition of two species of live fuels, Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menzeseii) and Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta). Live fuels are collected throughout the season and their time to ignition quantified. Additionally, we assess the moisture content and carbohydrate composition of each sample. We found that time to ignition was significantly correlated with moisture content but that moisture content alone only explains about 46% of the variability in time to ignition for both species. However, when moisture content is combined with a simple metric of available carbohydrates, 85% of the variability in ignition timing was explained using the same model for both species. These results suggest that while moisture content plays an important role in determining the time to ignition of live plants, additional information about the distribution of carbon-based compounds in the foliage is equally as important. This metric may serve as a simple way to assess the flammability of foliage and to determine the characteristics that make some plants more easily ignited than others.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationJolly, W. Matt; McAllister, Sara; Finney, Mark; Hadlow, Ann. 2010. Time to ignition is influenced by both moisture content and soluble carbohydrates in live Douglas fir and Lodgepole pine needles. In: Viegas, D. X., ed. Proceedings of the VI International Conference on Forest Fire Research; 15-18 November 2010; Coimbra, Portugal. Coimbra, Portugal: University of Coimbra. 8 p.
Keywordslive fuel, moisture content, carbohydrates, combustion, time to ignition
- Mountain pine beetle attack alters the chemistry and flammability of lodgepole pine foliage
- Relationships between moisture, chemistry, and ignition of Pinus contorta needles during the early stages of mountain pine beetle attack
- The effect of salvage logging on surface fuel loads and fuel moisture in beetle-infested lodgepole pine forests
XML: View XML