USDA Forest Service

Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team


Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team
Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory

400 N 34th Street, Suite 201
Seattle, WA 98103

(206) 732-7800

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United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

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MagnifyHow Do Pile Age and Season of Burning Influence Combustion and Fire Effects?

Winter burning of hand piles in Lassen National Park. Photo by Scott Isaacson, National Park ServiceTypical hazardous fuel reduction treatments target small diameter trees for removal producing large amounts of woody material, much of which is piled and burned on site. Little is known about how physical characteristics and the environmental conditions under which piles are burned affects atmospheric emissions, carbon pools and fluxes, soils, and vegetation. We are using data from experimental pile burns in the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest to provide managers in these regions with new information documenting the effects of burning piles of increasing age under different environmental conditions. Providing fuel and fire practitioners with detailed, quantitative information about the effects of pile burning will inform key management decisions about when to burn and how to minimize potential negative emissions, soil, carbon, and vegetation impacts.

Specifically we will measure combustion rate and duration, fuel consumption, charcoal production, burn intensity (above and below ground heat fluxes), changes in soil properties (nutrient levels and hydrophobicity), adjacent tree damage, surface vegetation responses, and changes in invasive species prevalence after pile burning.

Deliverables will include peer-reviewed publications documenting the research results; manager-focused fact sheets, webinars, and field visits; archived data; and an enhanced version of the Piled Fuels Biomass and Emissions Calculator in a format that is compatible with the Interagency Fuel Treatment Decision Support System.

Expected Completion Date: September 2014

Project Lead: Clint Wright

Logo of the Joint Fire Science ProgramWe acknowledge funding from the Joint Fire Science Program under Project 11-1-8-4.

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