Fire-adapted forests; Hazard reduction; Ecosystem restoration; Treatment demonstration; Interdisciplinary research; National replication
Hazard Reduction/Ecosystem Restoration Study: Home
Fuels/Fire Behavior

A key objective of the Fire/Fire Surrogate (FFS) research project is to evaluate effects of alternative treatments designed to reduce uncharacteristically severe wildfire, enhance forest sustainability, and restore ecosystem integrity. These treatments impact the quantity and quality of forest biomass, which, in turn influences species composition and success, as well as ecosystem functions such as nutrient availability and water holding capacity. Most of the biomass comprising the flora and debris is burnable and classified as forest fuel. Since the FFS sites are within wildland fire environments, fires can be expected and the amount and rate of fuels consumption will strongly affect abiotic site characteristics (nutrients, light, water) and species response (stimulation, mortality, invasion, decline). The amount and rate of biomass consumption by fire is determined by biomass quality, moisture content, weather, topography, and ignition methods. These features are important independent variables for evaluating the direct and indirect effects of fire on ecosystem attributes and potential effects on future wildfire severity.

Core Fire Behavior Variables

~Rates of fire spread

~Flame lengths

~Fuel moisture contents

~Weather conditions

Core Fuel Variables

~All dead woody fuels by size class

~Litter and duff fuels

~Herbaceous and shrub biomass

~ Small conifer biomass

Ongoing Studies

~Effects of moisture content and weather variables on fuel consumption

~Effects of consumption of one fuel class on another fuel class

~Effects of fuel consumption on conifer crown and stem damage

Regenerating quaking aspen in the Thin-and-Burn treatment
Cooperative Studies

None at this time

Thinning with fire in a Burn-only unit
Fuels/Fire Behavior Factoids

~All 6 prescribed burn treatments (3 Thin-and-burn, 3 Burn-only) were conducted in May and June, 2002.

~Seven agencies were involved in the prescribed burn operations.

Serviceberry killed by the fires
Useful Links

Missoula Fire Lab

Back to Research Activities page
Check out what has already been done on our Products page

Burning slash fuels in a Thin-and-burn unit

Lubrecht FFS Home
For information on this study contact Carl Fiedler.

For comments on this website contact Kerry Metlen.