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Funded Project Detail

Project ID: 11-1-8-4

Year: 2011

Date Started: 10/01/2011

Date Completed: 11/12/2015

Title: How Do Pile Age and Season of Burn Influence Combustion and Fire Effects?

Project Proposal Abstract: Typical hazardous fuel reduction treatments target small diameter trees for removal producing large amounts of woody material, much of which is piled and burned on site. Little is known about how physical characteristics and the environmental conditions under which piles are burned affects atmospheric emissions, carbon pools and fluxes, soils, and vegetation. We propose experimental pile burns in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and the Southwest (SW) to provide managers in these regions with new information documenting the effects of burning piles of increasing age under different environmental conditions. Specifically we will measure combustion rate and duration, fuel consumption, charcoal production, burn intensity (above and below ground heat fluxes), changes in soil properties (nutrient levels and hydrophobicity), adjacent tree damage, surface vegetation responses, and changes in invasive species prevalence after pile burning. We will identify one location in each region that has undergone a typical "thin from below" silvicultural fuel treatment in the summer of 2011, construct, characterize, and instrument 100 piles (50 in the PNW and 50 in the SW), and burn replicate piles (n=5) at six-month intervals to test the effects on the above-listed measures of increasing age (0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, and 2 years since piling) under two different seasons (spring vs. fall). Deliverables will include peer-reviewed publications documenting the research results; manager-focused fact sheets, webinars, and field visits; archived data; and an enhanced version of the Piled Fuels Biomass and Emissions Calculator in a format that is compatible with the Interagency Fuel Treatment Decision Support System. Providing fuel and fire practitioners with detailed, quantitative information about the effects of pile burning will inform key management decisions about when to burn and how to minimize potential negative emissions, soil, carbon, and vegetation impacts.

Principal Investigator: Clinton S. Wright

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: PNW-Seattle-Managing Natural Disturbances

Final Reportview or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Christina T. Bui

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Budget Contact

Rebecca A. Slick

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

Alexander M. Evans

Forest Guild

Co-Principal Investigator

Karen A. Haubensak

Northern Arizona University

College of Engineering, Forestry & Natural Sciences

Federal Cooperator

Clinton S. Wright

Forest Service

PNW-Seattle-Managing Natural Disturbances

Project Locations








Wenatchee National Forest




Pueblo of Santa Clara

Project Deliverables

There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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