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Project ID: 12-1-03-11

Year: 2012

Date Started: 06/15/2012

Date Completed: 06/30/2016

Title: Evaluation and Optimization of Fuel Treatment Effectiveness with an Integrated Experimental/Modeling Approach

Project Proposal Abstract: Our proposed research provides an opportunity to integrate proven, state-of-the-art, remote sensing methodologies with cutting edge numeric modeling of fire spread to test the principals and physics behind fuel reduction treatments. Many difficulties arise in adequately characterizing fuel reduction treatments solely through field experimentation. To overcome these limitations, we present a transferable approach that integrates Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) measurements of three-dimensional canopy structure and field consumption measurements with fire intensity and spread simulated with the Wildland-Urban Fire Dynamics Simulator (WFDS). The approach presented here: 1) characterizes three-dimensional fuel loading across a heterogeneous landscape and uses both a space-for-time and remeasurement approaches to characterize the physical changes that fuels treatments have on fuel structure and loading, 2) parameterizes WFDS using laboratory derived fuel property characteristics and evaluate the model at four operational prescribed burns in areas of contrasting fuel structure, and 3) integrates the treatment-dependant canopy structural characteristics derived from the LiDAR with WFDS simulations to evaluate realistic treatment scenarios over a wide range of fire weather conditions, allowing for the determination of optimal treatment regimes at the landscape-scale. This research will result in much-needed and tangible information for the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, and will directly inform their decision-making as they move forward with their extensive fuels management program. Additionally, the interplay between remote sensing, extensive field sampling and modeling presented here provide a potentially groundbreaking approach for evaluating fuel treatment effectiveness in a variety of other forest and shrub-dominated systems.

Principal Investigator: Nicholas S. Skowronski

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: NRS-Northern Research Station

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

David Garrison

Forest Service

NRS-Northern Research Station

Budget Contact

Debbie L. Giovanopoulos

Forest Service

NRS-Northern Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

Kenneth L. Clark

Forest Service

NRS-Silas Little Experimental Forest

Co-Principal Investigator

William E. Mell

Forest Service

PNW-Seattle-Managing Natural Disturbances

Co-Principal Investigator

Albert J. Simeoni

Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Robert L. Kremens

Rochester Institute of Technology

Imaging Science

Funding Cooperator

Nicholas S. Skowronski

Forest Service

NRS-Northern Research Station

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network


North Atlantic








Project Deliverables

Final Report view 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.")

  ID Type Title
view or print go to website 3592 Journal Article Journal of Sustainable Forestry
    7561 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Investigation of firebrand generation in a pine stand fire.
view or print   7300 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Fuel Treatment Effectiveness in Reducing Fire Intensity and Spread Rate - An Experimental Overview
view or print   7685 Conference/Symposia/Workshop An Experimental Study Evaluating the Burning Dynamics of Pitch Pine Needle Beds Using the FPA
view or print   7686 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Flammability Study of Pine Needle Beds
view or print   7687 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Investigation of Structural Wood Ignition by Firebrand Accumulation
  go to website 7688 Training Session Estimating Canopy Bulk Density with LiDAR Data
view or print   7757 Conference/Symposia/Workshop An Experimental Approach to the Evaluation of Prescribed Fire Behavior
view or print   7484 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Airborne laser scanner-assisted estimation of prescribed fire fuel consumption
view or print   7485 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Field Experiments and Modeling for the Assessment of Fuel Treatment Effectiveness in Reducing Wildfi
view or print   7610 Poster Evaluation of Satellite Imagery Based and Visual Estimation Methods for Quantifying Wildland Fire Se
view or print   5627 Poster Turbulence and Energy Fluxes During Prescribed Fires in the New Jersey Pinelands
view or print   5628 Poster A Coupled Approach to Evaluate the Dynamic Linkage Between Fuel Treatment Effects on Fuel Matrices and Effectiveness at Reducing Wildfire Intensity and Spread Rate

Supporting Documents

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