You are here: Home
/ Publication Information
Title: Effects of particle fracturing and moisture content on fire behaviour in masticated fuelbeds burned in a laboratory
Author: Kreye, Jesse K.; Varner, J. Morgan; Knapp, Eric E.
Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire 20(2): 308-317
Description: Mechanical mastication is a fuels treatment that converts shrubs and small trees into dense fuelbeds composed of fractured woody particles. Although compaction is thought to reduce fireline intensity, the added particle surface area due to fracturing could also influence fire behavior. We evaluated effects of particle fracturing and moisture content (ranging from 2.5 to 13%) on fire behavior in fuelbeds composed of masticated Arctostaphylos manzanita Parry and Ceanothus velutinus Dougl. shrubs in the laboratory. Fuelbeds composed of fractured particles did not burn with greater intensity than fuelbeds composed of intact particles, as hypothesized. Flame heights ranged from 54 to 95 cm and fireline intensity from 50 to 140 kJ s-1 m-1, approximating values observed in field experiments. Masticated fuelbeds burned with shorter flame heights and longer flaming duration under higher fuel moistures, but duration of lethal heating (>60°C) above fuelbeds did not differ across the range of fuel moistures, averaging 12 min over a 0.1-m² area. Our results suggest that expected fire behavior increases due to particle fracturing may be overwhelmed by fuelbed bulk density. The long-duration heating of burning masticated fuels may require managers to mitigate effects to trees and soils when fuel loads are high.
Keywords: Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus, fire intensity, fuels management, mechanical fuels treatment
View or Print this Publication (488 KB)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
Kreye, Jesse K.; Varner, J. Morgan; Knapp, Eric E. 2011. Effects of particle fracturing and moisture content on fire behaviour in masticated fuelbeds burned in a laboratory. International Journal of Wildland Fire 20(2): 308-317
Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility