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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Russell A. Parsons; Rodman R. Linn; Francois Pimont; Chad M. Hoffman; Jeremy Sauer; Judith L. Winterkamp; Carolyn Hull Sieg; W. Matt Jolly
Publication Date: 2017

Landscape heterogeneity shapes species distributions, interactions, and fluctuations. Historically, in dry forest ecosystems, low canopy cover and heterogeneous fuel patterns often moderated disturbances like fire. Over the last century, however, increases in canopy cover and more homogeneous patterns have contributed to altered fire regimes with higher fire severity. Fire management strategies emphasize increasing within-stand heterogeneity with aggregated fuel patterns to alter potential fire behavior. Yet, little is known about how such patterns may affect fire behavior, or how sensitive fire behavior changes from fuel patterns are to winds and canopy cover. Here, we used a physics-based fire behavior model, FIRETEC, to explore the impacts of spatially aggregated fuel patterns on the mean and variability of stand-level fire behavior, and to test sensitivity of these effects to wind and canopy cover. Qualitative and quantitative approaches suggest that spatial fuel patterns can significantly affect fire behavior. Based on our results we propose three hypotheses: (1) aggregated spatial fuel patterns primarily affect fire behavior by increasing variability; (2) this variability should increase with spatial scale of aggregation; and (3) fire behavior sensitivity to spatial pattern effects should be more pronounced under moderate wind and fuel conditions.

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Citation: Parsons, Russell A.; Linn, Rodman R.; Pimont, Francois; Hoffman, Chad M.; Sauer, Jeremy; Winterkamp, Judith L.; Sieg, Carolyn H.; Jolly, W. Matt. 2017. Numerical investigation of aggregated fuel spatial pattern impacts on fire behavior. Land 6(2):43.

Cataloging Information

Fire Behavior    Fuels    Models
Alaska    California    Eastern    Great Basin    Hawaii    Northern Rockies    Northwest    Rocky Mountain    Southern    Southwest    National
  • altered fire regimes
  • canopy cover
  • spatial heterogeneity
  • variability
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 24338