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Forests 2017, 8(9), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8090351

Revisiting Wildland Fire Fuel Quantification Methods: The Challenge of Understanding a Dynamic, Biotic Entity

1
School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne, Burnley 3121, Australia
2
Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, Rocky Mountain Research Station, US Forest Service, 5775 Highway 10 West, Missoula, MT 59808, USA
3
School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne, Creswick 3363, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 August 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 13 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildland Fire, Forest Dynamics, and Their Interactions)
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Abstract

Wildland fires are a function of properties of the fuels that sustain them. These fuels are themselves a function of vegetation, and share the complexity and dynamics of natural systems. Worldwide, the requirement for solutions to the threat of fire to human values has resulted in the development of systems for predicting fire behaviour. To date, regional differences in vegetation and independent fire model development has resulted a variety of approaches being used to describe, measure and map fuels. As a result, widely different systems have been adopted, resulting in incompatibilities that pose challenges to applying research findings and fire models outside their development domains. As combustion is a fundamental process, the same relationships between fuel and fire behaviour occur universally. Consequently, there is potential for developing novel fuel assessment methods that are more broadly applicable and allow fire research to be leveraged worldwide. Such a movement would require broad cooperation between researchers and would most likely necessitate a focus on universal properties of fuel. However, to truly understand fuel dynamics, the complex biotic nature of fuel would also need to remain a consideration—particularly when looking to understand the effects of altered fire regimes or changing climate. View Full-Text
Keywords: bushfire; grassfire; flammability; forest fire; quantitative methods; wildland fire; vegetation dynamics bushfire; grassfire; flammability; forest fire; quantitative methods; wildland fire; vegetation dynamics
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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Duff, T.J.; Keane, R.E.; Penman, T.D.; Tolhurst, K.G. Revisiting Wildland Fire Fuel Quantification Methods: The Challenge of Understanding a Dynamic, Biotic Entity. Forests 2017, 8, 351.

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