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Quantifying the effect of fuel reduction treatments on fire behavior in boreal forests

Author(s):

T.S. Rupp
R. Jandt
E. Miller
K. Howard
R. Schmoll
S. Theisen
R.E. Vihnanek
D. Jimenez

Year:

2013

Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Rocky Mountain Research Station

Historical Station(s):

Pacific Northwest Research Station

Source:

Canadian Journal of Forestry Research. 43: 97-102

Description

Mechanical (e.g., shearblading) and manual (e.g., thinning) fuel treatments have become the preferred strategy of many fire managers and agencies for reducing fire hazard in boreal forests. This study attempts to characterize the effectiveness of four fuel treatments through direct measurement of fire intensity and forest floor consumption during a single prescribed burn. The treatments included (1) thinning trees and removing debris (THIN-REMOVE-1 and -2), (2) thinning trees and burning the debris onsite, (3) shearblading and leaving the debris in place (SHEAR), and (4) shearblading and piling the debris in windrows (SHEAR-ROW). Fire burned through treatments 1, 3, and 4 and one control unit. The highest fire intensities (maximum temperature of 1150 °C, maximum heat flux of 227 kW• m-2, and fire cumulative energy release of 4277 Jm-2) were measured in the control. Treatment 1 exhibited a peak temperature of 267 °C, peak heating of 16 kW•m-2, and cumulative energy release of 2600 Jm-2. Treatments 3 and 4 exhibited peak temperatures of 170 and 66 °C, peak heating of 51 and 3 kW•m-2, and cumulative energy release of 2500 and 1800 Jm-2, respectively. The thinned treatment showed the most significant impact in the context of reduced heat release.

Citation

Butler, B.W.; Ottmar, R.D.; Rupp, T.S.; Jandt, R.; Miller, E.; Howard, K.; Schmoll, R.; Theisen, S.; Vihnanek, R.E.; Jimenez, D. 2013. Quantifying the effect of fuel reduction treatments on fire behavior in boreal forests. Canadian Journal of Forestry Research. 43: 97-102.

Publication Notes

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/43710