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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Data Set for Fuels, Fire Behavior, Smoke and Fire Effects Model Development and Evaluation

The availability of integrated, quality-assured fuels, fire, and atmospheric data for development and evaluation of fuels, fire behavior, smoke, and fire effects models is limited. The lack of co-located, multi-scale measures of pre-fire fuels, active fire processes, and post-fire effects hinders our ability to tackle fundamental fire science questions.

This research focuses on integrated, fine-scale and unit-scale measurements of fuel characteristics, fuel consumption, meteorology and plume dynamics, fire behavior, heat release, emissions, and fire effects in southeastern grasslands and pine forests. This is a large, robust effort that will target the critical data needs for evaluation and further development of fire and smoke models/tools such WFDS, FIRETEC, FOFEM, Consume, BlueSky, Daysmoke, and others.

Participants from the Southern, Rocky Mountain, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest, and Northern Research Stations, San Jose State University, University of Montana, Rochester Institute of Technology, and other research entities with operational support from the Department of Defense, and the Remote Sensing Applications Center, offer a wide range of fuel, fire behavior, meteorology, smoke, and fire behavior monitoring expertise and equipment to instrument a minimum of six prescribed fires ranging in size from 50 to 1,000 hectares.

Specifically, this research will:

  1. Quantify fuel characteristics and consumption across scales using standard methods, and with aerial and ground-based LiDAR;
  2. Measure fire-atmosphere interactions, plume dynamics, and ambient meteorological conditions;
  3. Measure surface fire behavior;
  4. Approach closure of the fire heat budget from measurements and estimates of total and effective heat of combustion and radiative, convective, latent, and soil heat dissipation;
  5. Characterize smoke emissions at the source and downwind from the fire; and
  6. Characterize first order fire effects.

All data from the research will be quality-assured by internal peer review and stored in a centrally managed repository such as the Smoke and Emission Model Intercomparison Project and/or the Fire Research and Management Exchange System. Peer-reviewed results from these experimental fires will be multi-authored and integrated across the various disciplinary aspects of the project, providing comprehensive assessment of fire as a physical process. An informational exchange website will be established.

The primary scientific results will be published in technical papers in a special issue of Forest Ecology and Management, the International Journal of Wildland Fire, the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, or another similar outlet. Preceding special issue publication, all key participants will present results in person at local, regional, and national venues.

Anticipated Completion Date: September 30, 2014

We acknowledge funding from the Joint Fire Science Program project #1-2-1-11

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