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Title: Test Plan to Assess Fire Effects on the Function of an Engineered Surface Barrier

Abstract

Wildfire is a frequent perturbation in shrub steppe ecosystems, altering the flora, fauna, atmosphere, and soil of these systems. Research on the fire effects has focused mostly on natural ecosystems with essentially no attention on engineered systems like surface barriers. The scope of the project is to use a simulated wildfire to induce changes in an engineered surface barrier and document the effects on barrier performance. The main objective is to quantify the effects of burning and the resulting post-fire conditions on alterations in soil physical properties; hydrologic response, particularly the water balance; geochemical properties; and biological properties. A secondary objective is to use the lessons learned to maximize fire protection in the design of long-term monitoring systems based on electronic sensors. A simulated wildfire will be initiated, controlled and monitored at the 200-BP-1 barrier in collaboration with the Hanford Fire Department during the fall of 2008. The north half of the barrier will be divided into nine 12 x 12 m plots, each of which will be randomly assigned a fuel load of 2 kg m-2 or 4 kg m-2. Each plot will be ignited around the perimeter and flames allowed to carry to the centre. Any remaining unburnedmore » vegetation will be manually burned off using a drip torch. Progress of the fire and its effects will be monitored using point measurements of thermal, hydrologic, and biotic variables. Three measures of fire intensity will be used to characterize fire behavior: (1) flame height, (2) the maximum temperature at three vertical profile levels, and (3) total duration of elevated temperature at these levels. Pre-burn plant information, including species diversity, plant height, and canopy diameter will be measured on shrubs from the plots to be burned and from control plots at the McGee ranch. General assessments of shrub survival, recovery, and recruitment will be made after the fire. Near-surface soil samples will be collected pre- and post-burn to determine changes in the gravel content of the surface layer so as to quantify inflationary or deflationary responses to fire and to reveal the ability of the surface to resist post-fire erosive stresses. Measures of bulk density, water repellency, water retention, and hydraulic conductivity will be used to characterize changes in infiltration rates and water storage capacity following the fire. Samples will also be analyzed to quantify geochemical changes including changes in soil pH, cation exchange capacity, specific surface area, and the concentration of macro nutrients (e.g. N, P, K) and other elements such as Na, Mg, Ca, that are critical to the post-fire recovery revegetation. Soil CO2 emissions will be measured monthly for one year following the burn to document post-fire stimulation of carbon turnover and soil biogenic emissions. Surface and subsurface temperature measurements at and near monitoring installations will be used to document fire effects on electronic equipment. The results of this study will be used to bridge the gaps in knowledge on the effects of fire on engineered ecosystems (e.g. surface barriers), particularly the hydrologic and biotic characteristics that govern the water and energy balance. These results will also support the development of practical fire management techniques for barriers that are compatible with wildfire suppression strategies. Furthermore, lessons learned will be use to develop installation strategies needed to protect electronic monitoring equipment from the intense heat of fire and the potential damaging effects of smoke and fire extinguishing agents. Such information is needed to better understand long-term barrier performance under extreme conditions, especially if site maintenance and operational funding is lost for activities such as barrier revegetation.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
940999
Report Number(s):
PNNL-17859
830403000; TRN: US0807421
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; HANFORD RESERVATION; CONTAINMENT SYSTEMS; FIRES; BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS; ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS; PERFORMANCE TESTING; SOILS; PHYSICAL PROPERTIES; HYDROLOGY; GEOCHEMISTRY; TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENT; COVERINGS; RADIOACTIVE WASTE FACILITIES

Citation Formats

Ward, Anderson L., Berlin, Gregory T., Cammann, Jerry W., Leary, Kevin D., and Link, Steven O. Test Plan to Assess Fire Effects on the Function of an Engineered Surface Barrier. United States: N. p., 2008. Web. doi:10.2172/940999.
Ward, Anderson L., Berlin, Gregory T., Cammann, Jerry W., Leary, Kevin D., & Link, Steven O. Test Plan to Assess Fire Effects on the Function of an Engineered Surface Barrier. United States. doi:10.2172/940999.
Ward, Anderson L., Berlin, Gregory T., Cammann, Jerry W., Leary, Kevin D., and Link, Steven O. Mon . "Test Plan to Assess Fire Effects on the Function of an Engineered Surface Barrier". United States. doi:10.2172/940999. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/940999.
@article{osti_940999,
title = {Test Plan to Assess Fire Effects on the Function of an Engineered Surface Barrier},
author = {Ward, Anderson L. and Berlin, Gregory T. and Cammann, Jerry W. and Leary, Kevin D. and Link, Steven O.},
abstractNote = {Wildfire is a frequent perturbation in shrub steppe ecosystems, altering the flora, fauna, atmosphere, and soil of these systems. Research on the fire effects has focused mostly on natural ecosystems with essentially no attention on engineered systems like surface barriers. The scope of the project is to use a simulated wildfire to induce changes in an engineered surface barrier and document the effects on barrier performance. The main objective is to quantify the effects of burning and the resulting post-fire conditions on alterations in soil physical properties; hydrologic response, particularly the water balance; geochemical properties; and biological properties. A secondary objective is to use the lessons learned to maximize fire protection in the design of long-term monitoring systems based on electronic sensors. A simulated wildfire will be initiated, controlled and monitored at the 200-BP-1 barrier in collaboration with the Hanford Fire Department during the fall of 2008. The north half of the barrier will be divided into nine 12 x 12 m plots, each of which will be randomly assigned a fuel load of 2 kg m-2 or 4 kg m-2. Each plot will be ignited around the perimeter and flames allowed to carry to the centre. Any remaining unburned vegetation will be manually burned off using a drip torch. Progress of the fire and its effects will be monitored using point measurements of thermal, hydrologic, and biotic variables. Three measures of fire intensity will be used to characterize fire behavior: (1) flame height, (2) the maximum temperature at three vertical profile levels, and (3) total duration of elevated temperature at these levels. Pre-burn plant information, including species diversity, plant height, and canopy diameter will be measured on shrubs from the plots to be burned and from control plots at the McGee ranch. General assessments of shrub survival, recovery, and recruitment will be made after the fire. Near-surface soil samples will be collected pre- and post-burn to determine changes in the gravel content of the surface layer so as to quantify inflationary or deflationary responses to fire and to reveal the ability of the surface to resist post-fire erosive stresses. Measures of bulk density, water repellency, water retention, and hydraulic conductivity will be used to characterize changes in infiltration rates and water storage capacity following the fire. Samples will also be analyzed to quantify geochemical changes including changes in soil pH, cation exchange capacity, specific surface area, and the concentration of macro nutrients (e.g. N, P, K) and other elements such as Na, Mg, Ca, that are critical to the post-fire recovery revegetation. Soil CO2 emissions will be measured monthly for one year following the burn to document post-fire stimulation of carbon turnover and soil biogenic emissions. Surface and subsurface temperature measurements at and near monitoring installations will be used to document fire effects on electronic equipment. The results of this study will be used to bridge the gaps in knowledge on the effects of fire on engineered ecosystems (e.g. surface barriers), particularly the hydrologic and biotic characteristics that govern the water and energy balance. These results will also support the development of practical fire management techniques for barriers that are compatible with wildfire suppression strategies. Furthermore, lessons learned will be use to develop installation strategies needed to protect electronic monitoring equipment from the intense heat of fire and the potential damaging effects of smoke and fire extinguishing agents. Such information is needed to better understand long-term barrier performance under extreme conditions, especially if site maintenance and operational funding is lost for activities such as barrier revegetation.},
doi = {10.2172/940999},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Sep 29 00:00:00 EDT 2008},
month = {Mon Sep 29 00:00:00 EDT 2008}
}

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