Use of a deterministic fire growth model to test fuel treatments



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Fuel treatments are necessary in many vegetated areas of the Sierra Nevada to mitigate the effects of decades of fire suppression and land-management activities on fuel accumulations and understory canopies. Treating fuels will reduce the severity of wildfires and, as a result, the threat to human lives, the destruction of property and valuable resources, and the alteration of natural fire regimes. This chapter describes the use of a deterministic fire-modeling approach to obtain information about the relative effectiveness of fuel treatments, including fuel breaks, prescribed burning, biomassing, piling and burning, and cutting and scattering. Wildfire spread was simulated under idealized conditions to see how specific fuel and stand treatments affect fire behavior. It was obvious from the simulations that fuel breaks alone do not halt the spread of wildfire. Prescribed burning appears to be the most effective treatment for reducing a fire’s rate of spread, fireline intensity, flame length, and heat per unit of area. A management scheme that includes a combination of fuel treatments in conjunction with other land-management scenarios should be successful in reducing the size and intensity of wildfires.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Use of a deterministic fire growth model to test fuel treatments
Volume Chapter 43
Year Published 1996
Language English
Publisher University of California-Davis, Wildland Resources Center
Publisher location Davis, CA
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description p. 1155-1165
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Other Government Series
Larger Work Title Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project: Final report to Congress, Volume II