USDA Forest Service
 

Adaptive Management Services

 

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Enterprise

United States Department of Agriculture USDA Forest Service Enterprise - Reinvention Lab

Projects

San Bernardino Mastication Fuel Treatment Monitoring

» Project Overview

Little information exists on fuels or fire characteristics in masticated fuel beds. The San Bernardino National Forest contracted AMSET to characterize masticated fuel beds as a foundation for understanding potential fire behavior in masticated fuels. During the spring of 2009, AMSET gathered data on four mastication fuel treatment areas in the San Bernardino National Forest.

The objective of this monitoring project was to quantify fuel loads and characteristics in masticated areas at several elevations and vegetation types, as well as varying levels of masticated material coverage. Data on masticated fuel characteristics could be used in the future in conjunction with fire behavior measurements in order to better develop and test potential masticated fuel models.


Mastication transect photo

Findings Summary

  • Tons/acre of masticated fuels can be roughly estimated by multiplying the average masticated fuel depth in cm by 4 for areas of head-high shrubs masticated roughly 2 years ago
  • Tons/acre of masticate fuels can be roughly estimated multiplying the average masticated fuel depth in cm by 7 for areas of head-high shrubs masticated roughly 1 year ago.
  • Over half of masticated fuels were 10 h, one-quarter to one-third were 1 h and less than a quarter were 100 h. Very few masticated fuels were 1000 h.
  • Bulk densities for the litter/duff/masticated fuel layer were 40 to 80 kg/m3
  • Masticated fuels loadings of 17 to 34 tons/acre were found. Litter, duff, herbaceous and shrub fuels were minimal.
  • Percent bare ground was less than 25% at all sites.
  • Average masticated fuel bed depths were 3 to 5 cm.
  • Custom fuel models were created as a starting point for fire behavior modeling in masticated fuel beds.
  • Predicted fire behavior for the masticated areas of this project modeled with two variations of custom fuel models and dry weather with 3 mph winds included rates of spread between 0 and 2 chains/hour and flame lengths between 0 and 3 feet.
  • A prototype for a masticated fuel photo series was created.

Final Report

 

USDA Forest Service - Adaptive Management Services Enterprise Unit
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:19:00 CST