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Title: Numerical investigation of aggregated fuel spatial pattern impacts on fire behavior

Abstract

Here, landscape heterogeneity shapes species distributions, interactions, and fluctuations. Historically, in dry forest ecosystems, low canopy cover and heterogeneous fuel patterns often moderated disturbances like fire. Over the last century, however, increases in canopy cover and more homogeneous patterns have contributed to altered fire regimes with higher fire severity. Fire management strategies emphasize increasing within-stand heterogeneity with aggregated fuel patterns to alter potential fire behavior. Yet, little is known about how such patterns may affect fire behavior, or how sensitive fire behavior changes from fuel patterns are to winds and canopy cover. Here, we used a physics-based fire behavior model, FIRETEC, to explore the impacts of spatially aggregated fuel patterns on the mean and variability of stand-level fire behavior, and to test sensitivity of these effects to wind and canopy cover. Qualitative and quantitative approaches suggest that spatial fuel patterns can significantly affect fire behavior. Based on our results we propose three hypotheses: (1) aggregated spatial fuel patterns primarily affect fire behavior by increasing variability; (2) this variability should increase with spatial scale of aggregation; and (3) fire behavior sensitivity to spatial pattern effects should be more pronounced under moderate wind and fuel conditions.

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [2];  [6];  [1]
  1. U.S. Forest Service, Missoula, MT (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  3. Ecologie des Forets Mediterraneennes, Avignon Cedex 9 (France)
  4. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States)
  5. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
  6. U.S. Forest Service, Flagstaff, AZ (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDA Forest Service; USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1369208
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-23015
Journal ID: ISSN 2073-445X
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Land
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 2073-445X
Publisher:
MDPI
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; earth sciences; fuel; spatial heterogeneity; canopy cover; fire behavior; variability; FIRETEC

Citation Formats

Parsons, Russell A., Linn, Rodman Ray, Pimont, Francois, Hoffman, Chad, Sauer, Jeremy, Winterkamp, Judith, Sieg, Carolyn H., and Jolly, W. Matt. Numerical investigation of aggregated fuel spatial pattern impacts on fire behavior. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3390/land6020043.
Parsons, Russell A., Linn, Rodman Ray, Pimont, Francois, Hoffman, Chad, Sauer, Jeremy, Winterkamp, Judith, Sieg, Carolyn H., & Jolly, W. Matt. Numerical investigation of aggregated fuel spatial pattern impacts on fire behavior. United States. doi:10.3390/land6020043.
Parsons, Russell A., Linn, Rodman Ray, Pimont, Francois, Hoffman, Chad, Sauer, Jeremy, Winterkamp, Judith, Sieg, Carolyn H., and Jolly, W. Matt. Sun . "Numerical investigation of aggregated fuel spatial pattern impacts on fire behavior". United States. doi:10.3390/land6020043. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1369208.
@article{osti_1369208,
title = {Numerical investigation of aggregated fuel spatial pattern impacts on fire behavior},
author = {Parsons, Russell A. and Linn, Rodman Ray and Pimont, Francois and Hoffman, Chad and Sauer, Jeremy and Winterkamp, Judith and Sieg, Carolyn H. and Jolly, W. Matt},
abstractNote = {Here, landscape heterogeneity shapes species distributions, interactions, and fluctuations. Historically, in dry forest ecosystems, low canopy cover and heterogeneous fuel patterns often moderated disturbances like fire. Over the last century, however, increases in canopy cover and more homogeneous patterns have contributed to altered fire regimes with higher fire severity. Fire management strategies emphasize increasing within-stand heterogeneity with aggregated fuel patterns to alter potential fire behavior. Yet, little is known about how such patterns may affect fire behavior, or how sensitive fire behavior changes from fuel patterns are to winds and canopy cover. Here, we used a physics-based fire behavior model, FIRETEC, to explore the impacts of spatially aggregated fuel patterns on the mean and variability of stand-level fire behavior, and to test sensitivity of these effects to wind and canopy cover. Qualitative and quantitative approaches suggest that spatial fuel patterns can significantly affect fire behavior. Based on our results we propose three hypotheses: (1) aggregated spatial fuel patterns primarily affect fire behavior by increasing variability; (2) this variability should increase with spatial scale of aggregation; and (3) fire behavior sensitivity to spatial pattern effects should be more pronounced under moderate wind and fuel conditions.},
doi = {10.3390/land6020043},
journal = {Land},
number = 2,
volume = 6,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {6}
}

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