U.S. Joint Fire Science Program

 

Date of this Version

2010

Document Type

Article

Citation

Fire Science Brief, Issue 90, January 2010

Comments

US government work.

Abstract

To help reduce the chance for high-severity fires in the western United States, thinning of the forest understory, midstory and overstory has become a necessity. In some cases, the resulting surface fuels are piled by hand and burned. As this two-part treatment method becomes more widely-used, fire managers need the ability to calculate the biomass of hand-piled fuels so they can better estimate the potential emissions and smoke impacts from their disposal by burning. Since machine-constructed piles were sampled in a previous study, researchers were able to use this past research as a point of departure to develop methods to better characterize the biomass of hand-constructed piles. The research team measured and weighed hand piles to improve the accuracy of volume, weight and emissions estimates. The compiled data were incorporated into a simple online calculator which provides fuel and fire managers with the ability to estimate smoke production with a few basic observations and measurements.