Fuel characteristics, temporal dynamics, and fire behavior of masticated mixed-conifer fuel beds

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This study found that:

  • Few changes in most of the measured masticated fuel bed properties were detected over the 10 years represented in the sample. This indicates that in dry environments, it may take at least 10 years for ecological processes to change fuel characteristics enough for adverse fire effects to be mitigated.
  • Burning masticated fuel beds in a laboratory revealed that there is a great deal of heat that is pulsed into the soil that could cause major mortality to belowground systems. This is especially true in high loading fuel beds with duff layers present.
  • All masticated fuel beds dried to equilibrium in less than seven days, indication that these quickly drying fuels can be readily susceptible to smoldering combustion after 5-7 days of drying.
  • Existing fuel models (including 11, SB1, SB2 and two existing custom fuel models) were good at representing fire behavior, indicating that there is no need to develop new, custom fuel models for masticated fuel beds.

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