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Open AccessArticle

Smouldering Combustion Dynamics of a Soil from a Pinus halepensis Mill. Forest. A Case Study of the Rocallaura Fires in Northeastern Spain

1
Department of Geography, Faculty of Geography and History, Universitat de Barcelona, Montalegre, 6, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
2
Pau Costa Foundation. Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer, 42 baixos A, 08552 Taradell, Spain
3
Departamento de Ciencias Históricas y Geográficas, Universidad de Tarapacá, 18 de Septiembre, 2222, 1010069 Arica, Chile
4
GRAF, Bombers de la Generalitat de Catalunya, Av. de Serragalliners, Cerdanyola del Vallès, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(10), 3449; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10103449
Received: 21 April 2020 / Revised: 12 May 2020 / Accepted: 13 May 2020 / Published: 16 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Earth Sciences and Geography)
This study analyses the smouldering combustion on soils that took place during the wildfires that occurred in Rocallaura (Northeastern Spain). The smouldering combustion after the first event, 23 June, was the potential source of flaming fire re-ignition of the second event, 19 July 2016. Re-ignitions are an important challenge for the firefighting system. Budget and efforts are spent on controlling these re-ignitions that can ultimately cause the collapse of the response system if the re-ignitions happen during periods of simultaneous fire events. Our objective is to contribute to better understand the dynamics of the smouldering combustion of organic soils associated with these wildfires and the impact on the Pinus halepensis Mill. forest ecosystem. Transects were established in adjacent control and post-fire zones. Laboratory analyses were conducted to determine some physical and chemical properties of both the duff and mineral soil. Using these variables, we estimate thresholds of duff ignition probability, percentage of duff consumption and smouldering combustion spread rates. Overall, we provide a set of tools for evaluating re-ignitions in forest ecosystems. We conclude that the concept of fire persistence should be a new variable for consideration in present and future analysis of fire regimes and demonstrates the significance of introducing smouldering combustion and re-ignition within the strategic framework of the wildfire hazard and integrating these phenomena into forest planning and management. View Full-Text
Keywords: re-ignition; inorganic matter; organic matter; duff; humidity; bulk density; spread rate re-ignition; inorganic matter; organic matter; duff; humidity; bulk density; spread rate
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Xifré-Salvadó, M.À.; Prat-Guitart, N.; Francos, M.; Úbeda, X.; Castellnou, M. Smouldering Combustion Dynamics of a Soil from a Pinus halepensis Mill. Forest. A Case Study of the Rocallaura Fires in Northeastern Spain. Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 3449.

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