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A new method for performing smouldering combustion field experiments in peatlands and rich-organic soils

Author(s): Elsa Pastor, I Oliveras, E. Urquiaga-Flores , J.A. Quintano-Loayza, M.I. Manta, E. Planas
Year Published: 2017

Smouldering ground fires have severe environmental implications. Their main effects are the release of large amounts of carbon to the atmosphere with loses of organic soil and its biota. Quantitative data on the behaviour of smouldering wildfires are very scarce and are needed to understand its ecological effects, to validate fuel consumption and smouldering propagation models and to develop danger-rating systems. We present, for the first time, a methodology for conducting smouldering experiments in field conditions. This method provides key data to investigate smouldering combustion dynamics, acquire fire behaviour metrics and obtain indicators for ecological effects of smouldering fires. It is to be applied in all types of undisturbed soils. The experimental protocol is based on a non-electric ignition source and the monitoring system relies on combining both point and surface specific temperature measurements. The methodology has been developed and applied by means of large series of replicate experiments in highly organic soils at the forest–grassland treeline of the Peruvian Andes. The soil tested exhibited weak ignition conditions. However, transition to oxidation phase was observed, with smouldering combustion during 9 h at 15-cm depth and residence times at temperatures above dehydration of ~22 h.

Citation: Pastor E, Oliveras I, Urquiaga-Flores E, Quintano-Loayza JA, Manta MI, Planas E. 2017. A new method for performing smouldering combustion field experiments in peatlands and rich-organic soils. International Journal of Wildland Fire 26(12), p. 1040-1052. https://doi.org/10.1071/WF17033
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Soils
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 16413
Record updated: Jan 18, 2018