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Principal Investigator(s):
Co-Principal Investigator(s):
  • Robert E. Vihnanek
    US Forest Service, Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory
  • Tamatha S. Verhunc
    US Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station
Completion Date: April 17, 2009

Land managers need a tool to accurately and efficiently estimate the biomass of hand-piled fuels as pile burning becomes a more widespread and common method for treating high fire hazard areas with heavy surface fuels. Past pile characterization research dealt only with large, crane-constructed and tractor-built piles which have different physical properties and contain larger fuel particles (tree boles and large limbs). We propose to measure and weigh hand-constructed piles to determine the relationships between pile composition, pile size and pile biomass. We will sample different vegetation types (i.e., conifer, hardwood, and shrub) and pile sizes to develop equations for estimating hand-pile biomass. The results of this proposed research and development project will allow land managers to more accurately assess biomass in hand piles, leading to better smoke production estimates, improved burn scheduling, and more accurate compliance with the maximum allowable emissions limits as determined by various state smoke management plans. Deliverable products will include an improved pile-computation routine for piles in the widely-used fuel and fire management software CONSUME 3.0 and technical documentation that informs accurate fuels data collection and calculation of biomass.

Cataloging Information

  • biomass estimates
  • Consume 3.0
  • fuel moisture
  • piled fuels
  • prescribed burning
  • woody fuel consumption
  • woody fuel loading
JFSP Project Number(s):
  • 07-2-1-57
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
Record Last Modified:
FRAMES Record Number: 1263