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Simulating Fire Spread with Landscape Management Scenarios

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Collectively, landscape structure, fuel loading, and weather control wildland fires. Our objective was to examine the impacts of landscape structure, weather and fire-ignition location on fire spread using FARSITE. We simulated surface fires in the Chequamegon National Forest, Wisconsin, on five landscapes: a control and four harvested landscapes created using HARVEST by varying the amount (2% and 4%) and method of harvesting (i.e., clustered and dispersed), labeled C2, C4, D2, and D4. We applied three levels of precipitation and wind speed to examine weather influences. We found that fire-ignition location had the strongest effect on fire spread, followed by rain. The high-rain scenario (twice the actual rainfall) decreased burned area by an average of 241 ha (6.1%) for simulated 15-day surface fires, whereas the low-rain scenario (half of actual rainfall) increased burned area by an average of 74 ha (1.8%). The maximum size of burned area decreased in all harvest scenarios by 90 ha (1.6%), 143 ha (2.6%), 168 ha (3.1%), and 201 ha (3.7%), respectively, for landscapes D2, C2, D4, and C4. We concluded that management at the ignition location is critical and landscape-level management may be adapted to influence landscape predisposition to fire spread.

Keywords: FARSITE; HARVEST; landscape structure; management; surface fire

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2006

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