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Use of a deterministic fire growth model to test fuel treatments

January 1, 1996

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.

Publication Year 1996
Title Use of a deterministic fire growth model to test fuel treatments
Authors J. W. van Wagtendonk
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70006803
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center