FuelCalc:  A tool for calculating wildland fuel quantities
and qualities and supporting fuel management decisions*

Elizabeth Reinhardt (1), Joe Scott (2) and Duncan Lutes (2)

(1) Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula Fire Sciences Lab, P.O. Box 8089, Missoula, MT 59807, 406 329-4760  FAX: 406 329-4877,  ereinhardt@fs.fed.us
(2) Systems for Environmental Management , P.O. Box 8868, Missoula, MT 59807
 
*Funded by the Joint Fire Sciences Program

 Abstract: A need exists for a simple computer program to determine surface and canopy fuel quantities (load, bulk density, depth) and qualities (fire behavior fuel model, fire-carrying fuel type) from a variety of fuel inventory data sources. In addition, fuel managers need help analyzing the potential effects of silvicultural treatments on surface and canopy fuels. Models of fire behavior and effects already exist, but the means to create inputs to those models is still lacking. Programs already exist to monitor fuel treatments over time, but not to simulate the potential effects of fuel treatment before implementation, so that managers can choose the best available treatment option. We propose to develop FuelCalc to carry out these calculations, incorporating both widely accepted methods for quantifying surface fuels and newly completed research funded by the JFSP for quantifying canopy fuels. FuelCalc supports fuel treatment decisions by simulating effects of a wide range of silvicultural treatments on surface and canopy fuels, and provides linkages to stand visualization, fire behavior and fire effects programs that rely on estimates of fuel characteristics. FuelCalc will deliver the best available fuel science information and research results in order to support fire science applications.

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Last modified: Feb 11, 2011