TD News, Number 1, 2008 - Internet Web Site: ''

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Collecting, Storing, and Transporting Fuel Moisture Samples

Photo of a person cutting wood with a chain saw.Fire and fuels managers rely on the data from fuel moisture samples when predicting fire behavior. Such predictions can help determine optimum conditions for prescribed burns. SDTDC and the Pacific Southwest Research Station evaluated techniques for collecting fuel moisture samples at the Forest Fire Laboratory in Riverside, CA.

One study examined the use of chain saws and hand saws for collecting samples. The tech tip "Chain-Saw Use in Sampling Fuel Moistures" (0651–1307P–SDTDC), provides test data showing no statistical difference in the fuel moisture levels of samples when using chain saws or hand saws. Both methods are effective for collecting large fuel moisture samples, but a chain saw gets the job done more quickly.

Another study evaluated three containers used to transport samples: a 1-quart paint can, a 1-quart polypropylene (Nalgene) plastic bottle, and a 1-quart self-sealing plastic freezer bag (7 by 8 inches by 2.7 millimeters thick). The tech tip "Evaluation of Fuel-Sample Containers" (0751–1306P–SDTDC) recommends using the polypropylene (Nalgene) bottle because of the container's durability and its ability to maintain fuel moisture.

For additional information, contact Susan Zahn, fuels management specialist (phone: 909–599–1267 ext. 226; e-mail:

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