The purpose of this study is to investigate how varying amounts of MPB-induced tree mortality affects the amount of crown fuels consumed and the fire intensity across a range of lodgepole pine stands of different tree density and spatial arrangements during the early stages of a bark beetle outbreak. Unlike past studies which have relied on semi-empirical or empirical mathematical prediction models to predict surface fire behavior and crown fire hazard this study utilizes the Wildland Urban Interface Dynamics Simulator which is a spatially dependent physics based model that does not assume fuel homogeneity within or across a stand and accounts for both fire and atmospheric and fuel and atmosphere interactions. Based on preliminary results, we conclude that the level of crown fuel consumption, the average fireline intensity, the maximum fireline intensity and the total heat release are all positively related to increases in the amount of standing dead trees for times when red-dead needles are still present in the overstory.
Hoffman, Chad; Parsons, Russ; Morgan, Penny; Mell, Ruddy. 2010. Numerical simulation of crown fire hazard following bark beetle-caused mortality in lodgepole pine forests. In: Wade, Dale D.; Robinson, Mikel L., eds. Proceedings of 3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference; 25-29 October 2010; Spokane, WA. Birmingham, AL: International Association of Wildland Fire. 1 p.