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Fire, Volume 2, Issue 2 (June 2019)

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Open AccessArticle
Prototype Downscaling Algorithm for MODIS Satellite 1 km Daytime Active Fire Detections
Received: 18 April 2019 / Revised: 19 May 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
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Abstract
This work presents development of an algorithm to reduce the spatial uncertainty of active fire locations within the 1 km MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS Aqua and Terra) daytime detection footprint. The algorithm is developed using the finer 500 m reflective bands by [...] Read more.
This work presents development of an algorithm to reduce the spatial uncertainty of active fire locations within the 1 km MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS Aqua and Terra) daytime detection footprint. The algorithm is developed using the finer 500 m reflective bands by leveraging on the increase in 2.13 μm shortwave infrared reflectance due to the burning components as compared to the non-burning neighborhood components. Active fire presence probability class for each of the 500 m pixels within the 1 km footprint is assigned by locally adaptive contextual tests against its surrounding neighborhood pixels. Accuracy is assessed using gas flares and wildfires in conjunction with available high-resolution imagery. Proof of concept results using MODIS observations over two sites show that under clear sky conditions, over 84% of the 500 m locations that had active fires were correctly assigned to high to medium probabilities, and correspondingly low to poor probabilities were assigned to locations with no visible flaming fronts. Factors limiting the algorithm performance include fire size/temperature distributions, cloud and smoke obscuration, sensor point spread functions, and geolocation errors. Despite these limitations, the resulting finer spatial scale of active fire detections will not only help first responders and managers to locate actively burning fire fronts more precisely but will also be useful for the fire science community. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Ecophysiological Traits on Live Fuel Moisture Content
Received: 5 April 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 17 May 2019 / Published: 22 May 2019
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Abstract
Live fuel moisture content (LFMC) is an important metric for fire danger ratings. However, there is limited understanding of the physiological control of LFMC or how it varies among co-occurring species. This is a problem for biodiverse yet fire-prone regions such [...] Read more.
Live fuel moisture content (LFMC) is an important metric for fire danger ratings. However, there is limited understanding of the physiological control of LFMC or how it varies among co-occurring species. This is a problem for biodiverse yet fire-prone regions such as southern California. We monitored LFMC and water potential for 11 native woody species, and measured ecophysiological traits related to access to water, plant water status, water use regulation, and drought adaptation to answer: (1) What are the physiological mechanisms associated with changes in LFMC? and (2) How do seasonal patterns of LFMC differ among a variety of shrub species? We found that LFMC varied widely among species during the wet winter months, but converged during the dry summer months. Traits associated with LFMC patterns were those related to access to water, such as predawn and minimum seasonal water potentials (Ψ), and water use regulation, such as transpiration. The relationship between LFMC and Ψ displayed a distinct inflection point. For most species, this inflection point was also associated with the turgor loss point, an important drought-adaptation trait. Other systems will benefit from studies that incorporate physiological mechanisms into determining critical LFMC thresholds to expand the discipline of pyro-ecophysiology. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Assessment of Fire Refugia Importance Criteria Ranked by Land Managers
Received: 4 April 2019 / Revised: 12 May 2019 / Accepted: 20 May 2019 / Published: 22 May 2019
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Abstract
There is evidence that forest resiliency is declining in the western US due to recent increases in both areas burned by wildfire and the number of large fires. Fire refugia may increase forest resiliency; however, for land managers to incorporate fire refugia into [...] Read more.
There is evidence that forest resiliency is declining in the western US due to recent increases in both areas burned by wildfire and the number of large fires. Fire refugia may increase forest resiliency; however, for land managers to incorporate fire refugia into their management plans, methods need to be developed to identify and rank criteria for what make fire refugia important. As part of a larger effort to build a spatially explicit ranking model for unburned islands in the inland northwestern US, we investigated the perceived importance of criteria used to inform a ranking model to identify high-value fire refugia. We developed a survey targeting land managers within the inland northwestern US. Participants were asked to score a predetermined list of criteria by their importance for determining the value of fire refugia. These scores were analyzed to identify trends among respondents that could be used to develop a fire refugia ranking model. The results indicate that respondents generally organized criteria into two groups: Human infrastructure and wildlife habitat. However, there was little consensus among respondents in their scoring of fire refugia importance criteria, suggesting that a single region-wide fire refugia ranking model may not be feasible. More research with a larger sample size is needed to develop targeted ranking models. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Influence of Local Social Context on Strategies for Achieving Fire Adapted Communities
Received: 26 March 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
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Abstract
There is a growing recognition that the social diversity of communities at risk from wildland fire may necessitate divergent combinations of policies, programs and incentives that allow diverse populations to promote fire adapted communities (FACs). However, there have been few coordinated research efforts [...] Read more.
There is a growing recognition that the social diversity of communities at risk from wildland fire may necessitate divergent combinations of policies, programs and incentives that allow diverse populations to promote fire adapted communities (FACs). However, there have been few coordinated research efforts to explore the perceived utility and effectiveness of various options for FACs among residents, professionals, and local officials in disparate communities with different social contexts. The research presented here attempts to systematically explore the combination of local social factors that influence support for coordinated wildfire risk management across locations. We conducted 19 interactive focus groups across five communities spanning five Western U.S. states using a mixed-method design that allowed for the collection of quantitative and qualitative data. Results indicate a number of significant differences in effectiveness ratings for adaptation approaches across communities, including requirement of vegetation mitigations on private properties, fostering Firewise communities, and zoning efforts in fire-prone areas. We used qualitative data to help explain the differences between communities as a function of unique local social context operating in each location. We also compare our results with existing frameworks promoting community “archetypes” to evaluate their continued use in wildfire management planning or response. Full article
Open AccessCase Report
Tree Mortality Following Mixed-Severity Prescribed Fire Dramatically Alters the Structure of a Developing Pinus taeda Forest on the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
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Abstract
This case study documents the aftermath of a mixed-severity prescribed fire conducted during the growing season in a young loblolly pine forest. The specific management objective involved killing a substantial proportion of the overstory trees and creating an open-canopy habitat. The burn generated [...] Read more.
This case study documents the aftermath of a mixed-severity prescribed fire conducted during the growing season in a young loblolly pine forest. The specific management objective involved killing a substantial proportion of the overstory trees and creating an open-canopy habitat. The burn generated canopy openings across 26% of the 25-ha burn block, substantially altering the horizontal structure. Mortality of pines was high and stems throughout the size distribution were impacted; stem density was reduced by 60% and basal area and aboveground biomass (AGB) by ~30% at the end of the first growing season. A nonlinear regression model fit to plot data portrays a positive relationship between high stocking (i.e., relative density > 0.60) and postburn mortality. Survival of individual trees was reliably modeled with logistic regression, including variables describing the relative reduction in the size of tree crowns following the burn. Total AGB recovered rapidly, on average exceeding levels at the time of the burn by 23% after six growing seasons. Intentional mixed-severity burning effectively created persistent canopy openings in a young fire-tolerant precommercial-sized pine forest, meeting our objectives of structural alteration for habitat restoration. Full article
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Open AccessViewpoint
High Risk of Post-Earthquake Fire Hazard in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Received: 2 May 2019 / Revised: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
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Abstract
According to a recent survey conducted by the Fire Service and Civil Defense in Dhaka, Bangladesh, more than 400 hospitals and clinics are facing a dreadful risk of fire hazard [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Survival of Pinus ponderosa Saplings Subjected to Increasing Levels of Fire Behavior and Impacts on Post-Fire Growth
Received: 19 April 2019 / Revised: 3 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 9 May 2019
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Abstract
Improved predictions of tree species mortality and growth metrics following fires are important to assess fire impacts on forest succession, and ultimately forest growth and yield. Recent studies have shown that North American conifers exhibit a ‘toxicological dose-response’ relationship between fire behavior and [...] Read more.
Improved predictions of tree species mortality and growth metrics following fires are important to assess fire impacts on forest succession, and ultimately forest growth and yield. Recent studies have shown that North American conifers exhibit a ‘toxicological dose-response’ relationship between fire behavior and the resultant mortality or recovery of the trees. Prior studies have not been conclusive due to potential pseudo-replication in the experimental design and time-limited observations. We explored whether dose-response relationships are observed in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) saplings exposed to surface fires of increasing fire behavior (as quantified by Fire Radiative Energy – FRE). We confirmed equivalent dose-response relationships to the prior studies that were focused on other conifer species. The post-fire growth in the saplings that survived the fires decreased with increasing FRE dosages, while the percentage mortality in the sapling dosage groups increased with the amount of FRE applied. Furthermore, as with lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), a low FRE dosage could be applied that did not yield mortality in any of the replicates (r=10). These results suggest that land management agencies could use planned burns to reduce fire hazard while still maintaining a crop of young saplings. Incorporation of these results into earth-system models and growth and yield models could help reduce uncertainties associated with the impacts of fire on timber growth, forest resilience, carbon dynamics, and ecosystem economics. Full article
Open AccessCase Report
Comparing Modeled Emissions from Wildfire and Prescribed Burning of Post-Thinning Fuel: A Case Study of the 2016 Pioneer Fire
Received: 6 April 2019 / Revised: 1 May 2019 / Accepted: 3 May 2019 / Published: 9 May 2019
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Abstract
Prescribed fire is often used by land managers as an effective means of implementing fuel treatments to achieve a variety of goals. Smoke generated from these activities can put them at odds with air quality regulations. We set out to characterize the emission [...] Read more.
Prescribed fire is often used by land managers as an effective means of implementing fuel treatments to achieve a variety of goals. Smoke generated from these activities can put them at odds with air quality regulations. We set out to characterize the emission tradeoff between wildfire and prescribed fire in activity fuels from thinning in a case study of mixed conifer forest within the Boise National Forest in central Idaho. Custom fuelbeds were developed using information from the forest and emissions were modeled and compared for four scenarios, as follows: Untreated fuels burned in wildfire (UNW), prescribed fire in activity fuels left from thinning (TRX), a wildfire ignited on the post-treatment landscape (PTW), and the combined emissions from TRX followed by PTW (COM). The modeled mean total emissions from TRX were approximately 5% lower, compared to UNW, and between 2–46% lower for individual pollutants. The modeled emissions from PTW were approximately 70% lower than UNW. For the COM scenario, emissions were not significantly different from the UNW scenario for any pollutants, but for CO2. However, for the COM scenario, cumulative emissions would have been comprised of two events occurring at separate times, each with lower emissions than if they occurred at once. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring ISO31000 Risk Management during Dynamic Fire and Emergency Operations in Western Australia
Received: 16 February 2019 / Revised: 31 March 2019 / Accepted: 16 April 2019 / Published: 24 April 2019
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Abstract
Firefighting remains an inherently dangerous occupation with serious injuries and fatalities reported globally. The Australasian Fire Authorities Council adopt ISO31000 as the standard of risk management for all firefighting and mitigation operations. However, previous studies have reported that decisions made by incident controllers [...] Read more.
Firefighting remains an inherently dangerous occupation with serious injuries and fatalities reported globally. The Australasian Fire Authorities Council adopt ISO31000 as the standard of risk management for all firefighting and mitigation operations. However, previous studies have reported that decisions made by incident controllers during dynamic emergencies are typically reactionary and only partially compliant with the ISO31000 process. This paper describes research using new qualitative and quantitative data that support incident controllers in managing risk during dynamic fire and emergency situations, in accordance with ISO31000. The research was completed through two studies. The first study explored risk attitudes of serving fire service officers through semistructured interviews and in-depth structured surveys. The second study identified the severity of firefighting consequences and likelihood through analysis of Western Australian fire service safety and incident reports between January 1st, 2001 and January 1st, 2015. The overall and conditional probability of specific injuries during the various tasks undertaken during emergency incidents was calculated using Bayesian statistical analysis. The findings indicate that whilst current practices are arguably effective in preventing worst case consequences being realised, improvements in operational risk management can be made in accordance with ISO31000 during emergencies and in pre-incident planning. Full article
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Open AccessViewpoint
Notre Dame Cathedral: Another Case in a Growing List of Heritage Landmarks Destroyed by Fire
Received: 17 April 2019 / Revised: 22 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 24 April 2019
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Abstract
16 April 2019 [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Fire Temperature Based on the Time and Resistance of Buildings—Predicting the Adoption of Fire Safety Measures
Received: 3 March 2019 / Revised: 31 March 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 10 April 2019
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Abstract
During a fire in enclosed spaces, having structures with a good level of resistance is very important. The post flashover fire time interval, during which rescue squads operate, is important to verify if the structure can still resist fire for an acceptable time [...] Read more.
During a fire in enclosed spaces, having structures with a good level of resistance is very important. The post flashover fire time interval, during which rescue squads operate, is important to verify if the structure can still resist fire for an acceptable time interval. This can be determined through the REI value. Hence, the way the fire develops must be examined together with the trend of the temperature that might guarantee that the structure will resist the heat flux released during the combustion. This article examines and compares, through a case study, the most important methods for analysis of the fire risk: the prescriptive approach and the simplified performance-based approach. The performance-based method (more suitable for the actual planning demand with respect to the more cautious prescriptive approach) is affected by the parameters influencing its development. The goal of this article is to provide a graph (based on parameters like the type of building, opening factor “O” and fire load “q”) that might be used by designers and architects to carry out the planning phase and adopt fire prevention systems before dealing with the assessments required by the engineering field for the fire risk analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial, Temporal and Electrical Characteristics of Lightning in Reported Lightning-Initiated Wildfire Events
Received: 6 March 2019 / Revised: 29 March 2019 / Accepted: 30 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
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Abstract
Analysis was performed to determine whether a lightning flash could be associated with every reported lightning-initiated wildfire that grew to at least 4 km2. In total, 905 lightning-initiated wildfires within the Continental United States (CONUS) between 2012 and 2015 were analyzed. [...] Read more.
Analysis was performed to determine whether a lightning flash could be associated with every reported lightning-initiated wildfire that grew to at least 4 km2. In total, 905 lightning-initiated wildfires within the Continental United States (CONUS) between 2012 and 2015 were analyzed. Fixed and fire radius search methods showed that 81–88% of wildfires had a corresponding lightning flash within a 14 day period prior to the report date. The two methods showed that 52–60% of lightning-initiated wildfires were reported on the same day as the closest lightning flash. The fire radius method indicated the most promising spatial results, where the median distance between the closest lightning and the wildfire start location was 0.83 km, followed by a 75th percentile of 1.6 km and a 95th percentile of 5.86 km. Ninety percent of the closest lightning flashes to wildfires were negative polarity. Maximum flash densities were less than 0.41 flashes km2 for the 24 h period at the fire start location. The majority of lightning-initiated holdover events were observed in the Western CONUS, with a peak density in north-central Idaho. A twelve day holdover event in New Mexico was also discussed, outlining the opportunities and limitations of using lightning data to characterize wildfires. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Fire and Forest Management in Montane Forests of the Northwestern States and California, USA
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2019 / Accepted: 30 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
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Abstract
We reviewed forest management in the mountainous regions of several northwestern states and California in the United States and how it has impacted current issues facing these forests. We focused on the large-scale activities like fire suppression and logging which resulted in landscape [...] Read more.
We reviewed forest management in the mountainous regions of several northwestern states and California in the United States and how it has impacted current issues facing these forests. We focused on the large-scale activities like fire suppression and logging which resulted in landscape level changes. We divided the region into two main forests types; wet, like the forests in the Pacific Northwest, and dry, like the forests in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges. In the wet forests, the history of intensive logging shaped the current forest structure, while fire suppression played a more major role in the dry forests. Next, we looked at how historical management has influenced new forest management challenges, like catastrophic fires, decreased heterogeneity, and climate change. We then synthesized what current management actions are performed to address these issues, like thinning to reduce fuels or improve structural heterogeneity, and restoration after large-scale disturbances. Lastly, we touch on some major policies that have influenced changes in management. We note a trend towards ecosystem management that considers a forest’s historical disturbance regime. With expected climate induced changes in fire frequency, it is suggested that fuel treatments be implemented in dry forests to ensure an understory fire regime is restored in these forest systems. With respect to wet forests in this region, it is suggested that there is still a place for stand-replacing fire regimes. However, these forests will require structural changes incorporating heterogeneity to improve their resiliency and health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land-Use and Fire around the World from the Past to the Present)
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