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Open AccessConcept Paper

A Hierarchical Classification of Wildland Fire Fuels for Australian Vegetation Types

1
CSIRO, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
2
New South Wales Rural Fire Service, P.O. Box 2234, Queanbeyan, NSW 2620, Australia
3
Department of Parks and Wildlife, Manjimup, WA 6258, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 March 2018 / Revised: 6 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract

Appropriate categorisation and description of living vegetation and dead biomass is necessary to support the rising complexity of managing wildland fire and healthy ecosystems. We propose a hierarchical, physiognomy-based classification of wildland fire fuels—the Bushfire Fuel Classification—aimed at integrating the large diversity of Australian vegetation into distinct fuel types that are easily communicated and quantitatively described. At its basis, the classification integrates life form characteristics, height, and foliage cover. The hierarchical framework, with three tiers, describes fuel types over a range of application requirements and fuel description accuracies. At the higher level, the fuel classification identifies a total of 32 top-tier fuel types divided into 9 native forest or woodland, 2 plantation, 10 shrubland, 7 grassland, and 4 other fuel types: wildland urban interface areas, horticultural crops, flammable wetlands, and nonburnable areas. At an intermediate level, the classification identifies 51 mid-tier fuel types. Each mid-tier fuel type can be divided into 4 bottom-tier fuel descriptions. The fuel types defined within the tier system are accompanied by a quantitative description of their characteristics termed the “fuel catalogue”. Work is currently under way to link existing Australian state- and territory-based fuel and vegetation databases with the fuel classification and to collate existent fuel characteristics information to populate the fuel catalogue. The Bushfire Fuel Classification will underpin a range of fire management applications that require fuel information in order to determine fire behaviour and risk, fuel management, fire danger rating, and fire effects. View Full-Text
Keywords: fuel type; fire behaviour; eucalypt forest fuels; grassland fuels; WUI fuels; fire danger rating fuel type; fire behaviour; eucalypt forest fuels; grassland fuels; WUI fuels; fire danger rating
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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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Cruz, M.G.; Gould, J.S.; Hollis, J.J.; McCaw, W.L. A Hierarchical Classification of Wildland Fire Fuels for Australian Vegetation Types. Fire 2018, 1, 13.

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