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Fuel treatment effectiveness in reducing fire intensity and spread rate -- an experimental overview

Author(s): Eric Mueller, Nick Skowronski, Albert Simeoni, Kenneth L. Clark, Robert L. Kremens, William E. Mell, Michael R. Gallagher, Jan C. Thomas, Alexander I. Filkov, M. El Houssami, John L. Hom, Bret W. Butler
Editor(s): Dale D. Wade, Rebekah L. Fox
Year Published: 2014

Fuel treatments represent a significant component of the wildfire mitigation strategy in the United States. However, the lack of research aimed at quantifying the explicit effectiveness of fuel treatments in reducing wildfire intensity and spread rate limits our ability to make educated decisions about the type and placement of these treatments. As part of a larger project designed to address this knowledge gap, an experiment was conducted in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. This experiment, the first in a set of two, both of which aim to compare bounding levels of fuel treatment, was focused on evaluating fire behavior in an untreated block of forest. The evaluation was carried out via the observation and measurement of an operational prescribed burn. Within the larger framework of the study, this experiment was designed from the outset to provide information that is easily translatable to fire modeling applications. By simulating these experiments, as well as other similar hypothetical cases, this project will serve as a proof of concept that such models can be an effective tool for studying fire behavior and eventually informing management policy and decisions.

Citation: Mueller, Eric; Skowronski, Nicholas; Simeoni, Albert; Clark, Kenneth; Kremens, Robert; Mell, William; Gallagher, Michael; Thomas, Jan; Filkov, Alexander; Houssami, Mohamad El; Hom, John; Butler, Bret. 2014. Fuel treatment effectiveness in reducing fire intensity and spread rate - An experimental overview. In: Wade, Dale D.; Fox, Rebekah L., eds; Robinson, Mikel L., comp. Proceedings of 4th Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference; 18-22 February 2013, Raleigh, NC; and 1-4 July 2013, St. Petersburg, Russia. Missoula, MT: International Association of Wildland Fire. p. 360-362.
Topic(s): Fire Behavior, Data Evaluation or Data Analysis for Fire Modeling, Simulation Modeling, Fuels, Fuel Treatments & Effects, Mechanical treatments, Prescribed Fire-use treatments
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
NRFSN number: 16924
TTRS (Tall Timbers Research Station) Number: 31336
Record updated: Jul 6, 2018