The Northwest and Alaska Fire Research Clearinghouse
 The Northwest and Alaska Fire Research Clearinghouse

www.fs.fed.us/pnw/fera/firehouse 

Quantifying the Effects of Fuels Reduction Treatments on Fire Behavior and Post-fire Vegetation Dynamics
Concerns about wildland fuel levels and a growing wildland-urban interface have pushed wildland fire risk mitigation strategies to the forefront of fire management activities. Mechanical (e.g., shearblading) and manual (e.g., thinning) fuel treatments have become the preferred strategy of many fire managers and agencies in Alaska. However, few observations exist that document the actual effect of different fuel treatments on fire behavior. This study will quantify the effects of different mechanical and manual fuel treatments on fire behavior. Three experimental burn units will be installed within a 550 acre study area 30 miles southwest of Fairbanks, Alaska. Within each burn unit four fuel treatment plots (150 x 150 m) will be established. Paired burn measurements will be conducted to facilitate direct comparisons between the control vegetation matrix and the treatments. Fuel treatments include 8 x 8 ft thinnings pruned to 4 ft under three different fuel removal strategies: 1) haul away, 2) burn piles on site, and 3) windrow and burn on site. Additionally, four shearblading treatments will be tested; with and without windrowing of debris and with and without pile burning. It is anticipated that this research will lead to the first quantified tests of the effects of fuel reduction treatments on fire behavior in Alaska. Results will provide the data required by fire behavior models (FARSITE, BEHAVE, and NEXUS), a fuels characterization system (FCCS), and a fire effects model (CONSUME). Additionally, guidelines directed at sampling design and methodology issues will be developed that can be used to assist in the implementation of other experimental burns.

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Comments/suggestions?Last updated: 07/20/2006
FIREHouse is a collaboration between the Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team (FERA) of the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory; the University of Washington; the National Park Service; the Bureau of Land Management – Alaska Fire Service; the US Fish and Wildlife Service; and the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII). The NBII is a broad, collaborative program that provides increased access to data and information on the nation’s biological resources. Funding for FIREHouse has been provided by the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) and NBII. FIREHouse is coordinating efforts with the Fire Research and Management Exchange System (FRAMES) project team. Content on FIREHouse will provide substantial contributions to the Northwest Fire Science Portal and the Alaska Fire Science Portal.
 
Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team, Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory, PNW Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Seattle, WA USDA Forest Service Fire Research and Management Exchange System (FRAMES)    National Biological Information Infrastructure
College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
National Park Service Alaska Fire Service US Fish & Wildlife Service