Controls on carbon consumption during Alaskan wildland fires
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Eric S. Kasischke; Elizabeth E. Hoy
Publication Year: 2012

Cataloging Information

  • air quality
  • biomass burning
  • black spruce
  • boreal carbon dynamics
  • boreal forest
  • C - carbon
  • disturbance
  • fire frequency
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire size
  • forest management
  • fuel moisture
  • GIS - geographic information system
  • Picea mariana
  • remote sensing
  • season of fire
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 11433
Tall Timbers Record Number: 26371
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Not in File
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


A method was developed to estimate carbon consumed during wildland fires in interior Alaska based on medium-spatial scale data (60 m cell size) generated on a daily basis. Carbon consumption estimates were developed for 41 fire events in the large fire year of 2004 and 34 fire events from the small fire years of 2006-2008. Total carbon consumed during the large fire year (2.72 x 106 ha burned) was 64.7 Tg C, and the average carbon consumption during the small fire years (0.09 x 106 ha burned) was 1.3 Tg C. Uncertainties for the annual carbon emissions ranged from 13% to 21%. Carbon consumed from burning of black spruce forests represented 76% of the total during large fire years and 57% during small fire years. This was the result of the widespread distribution of black spruce forests across the landscape and the deep burning of the surface organic layers common to these ecosystems. Average carbon consumed was 3.01 kg m^-2 during the large fire year and 1.69 kg m^-2 during the small fire years. Most of the carbon consumption was from burning of ground layer fuels (85% in the large fire year and 78% in small fire years). Most of the difference in average carbon consumption between large and small fire years was in the consumption of ground layer fuels (2.60 vs. 1.31 kg m^-2 during large and small fire years, respectively). There was great variation in average fuel consumption between individual fire events (0.56-5.06 kg m^-2) controlled by variations in fuel types and topography, timing of the fires during the fire season, and variations in fuel moisture at the time of burning.

Online Link(s):
Kasischke, Eric S.; Hoy, Elizabeth E. 2012. Controls on carbon consumption during Alaskan wildland fires. Global Change Biology 18(2):685-699.