Overview: In this lesson, students use matchstick models to investigate two of the variables that affect the spread of wildland fire:
- slope (a feature of topography) and
- density of trees, shrubs or other standing fuels.
While this activity is especially well-suited to studying tree density, the principles apply equally well to any vertical fuel arrangement, including the tall shrubs and other native plants found in the sagebrush ecosystem.
- Increase students’ understanding of the relationship between slope and stand density on fire spread
- Develop student skills in using models, experimentation, and written/oral communication
- Students will create models of tree stands/shrubland to test the effect of slope and stand density on fire spread.
- Students will explain how slope and fuel density affect fire spread verbally and in writing.