U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fire Science Brief, Issue 84, December 2009


US government work.


Detailed information on fuel consumption and emissions from wildland fire in Alaska’s boreal forests has been in short supply. Research has been limited by reliance on prescribed burns for data collection in a region where weather, freezing and thawing permafrost and limited resources make controlled fire very challenging to accomplish. For this study, researchers tried a different approach: rapidly deploying and sampling on active wildfi res. They were richly rewarded when the study period coincided with the record-setting fi re season of 2004 when over six million acres burned in Alaska. With so many fires, many conveniently burning along the state’s few highways, researchers were able to far exceed their original goals. The result is a model that uses upper forest fl oor fuel moisture content and pre-burn forest floor depth to project consumption and emissions for boreal forest types, now incorporated into Consume 3.0.