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Estimating Fuel Consumption for the Upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina

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Recent changes in air quality regulations present a potential obstacle to continued use of prescribed fire as a land management tool. Lowering of the acceptable daily concentration of particulate matter from 65 to 35 g/m3 will bring much closer scrutiny of prescribed burning practices from the air quality community. To work within this narrow window, land managers need simple tools to allow them to estimate their potential emissions and examine trade-offs between continued use of prescribed fire and other means of fuels management. A critical part of the emissions estimation process is determining the amount of fuel consumed during the burn. This study combines results from a number of studies along the Upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina to arrive at a simple means of estimating total fuel consumption on prescribed fires. The result is a simple linear relationship that determines the total fuel consumed as a function of the product of the preburn fuel load and the burning index of the National Fire Danger Rating System.
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Keywords: emissions; fuel consumption; prescribed fire

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dan Shea and John Blake, US Forest Service, Savannah River, New Ellenton, SC 29809.

Publication date: 01 February 2010

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