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Forests 2014, 5(10), 2490-2504; doi:10.3390/f5102490

Microclimate and Modeled Fire Behavior Differ Between Adjacent Forest Types in Northern Portugal

1
Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences (CITAB), University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Apartado 1013, 5000-801, Vila Real, Portugal
2
Centro de Ecologia Aplicada Baeta Neves, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, 1349-017, Lisboa, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 July 2014 / Revised: 4 September 2014 / Accepted: 11 October 2014 / Published: 17 October 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Forest Fire)
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Abstract

Fire severity varies with forest composition and structure, reflecting micrometeorology and the fuel complex, but their respective influences are difficult to untangle from observation alone. We quantify the differences in fire weather between different forest types and the resulting differences in modeled fire behavior. Collection of in-stand weather data proceeded during two summer periods in three adjacent stands in northern Portugal, respectively Pinus pinaster (PP), Betula alba (BA), and Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (CL). Air temperature, relative humidity and wind speed varied respectively as CL < PP < BA, PP < CL < BA, and CL < BA < PP. Differences between PP and the other types were greatest during the warmest and driest hours of the day in a sequence of 10 days with high fire danger. Estimates of daytime moisture content of fine dead fuels and fire behavior characteristics for this period, respectively, from Behave and BehavePlus, indicate a CL < BA < PP gradient in fire potential. High stand density in CL and BA ensured lower wind speed and higher fuel moisture content than in PP, limiting the likelihood of an extreme fire environment. However, regression tree analysis revealed that the fire behavior distinction between the three forest types was primarily a function of the surface fuel complex, and more so during extreme fire weather conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest meteorology; fire weather; fuel moisture content; fire behavior forest meteorology; fire weather; fuel moisture content; fire behavior
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Pinto, A.; Fernandes, P.M. Microclimate and Modeled Fire Behavior Differ Between Adjacent Forest Types in Northern Portugal. Forests 2014, 5, 2490-2504.

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