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The role of extractives in the propagation of forest fires has been investigated by determining the rate of gasification of these materials and the related release of energy (heat release) as a function of temperature. These investigations involved extraction with ether and benzene-ethanol; chemical analyses including elemental analysis and gas-liquid chromatography; and thermal analyses including thermal evolution and thermogravimetric analysis of Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine, aspen, gallberry, manzanita, and saw-palmetto foliage. Gasification of the extractives takes place between 100° and 500°C, the upper limit of the temperature range studied, and contributes substantially to the heat release (up to 60 percent) from the foliage fuels. Most of this heat release is due to the ether extractives. However, contrary to expectation, the benzene-ethanol extractives, which are polar and have a lower heat content, decomposed at lower temperatures and could facilitate the initiation of combustion and propagation of the flames. Forest Sci. 23:81-89.
Research Assistant, Wood Chemistry Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana
Publication date: March 1, 1977
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Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.