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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Richard W. Fonda; L. A. Belanger; L. L. Burley
Publication Date: 1998

The needles from thirteen species of western conifers were burned to compare flammability of nonwoody fuels. The following burning characteristics were measured in a completely randomized design ANOVA: maximum flame height, flame time, ember time, burn time, percent combusted, and mean rate of weight loss. The burning characteristics tested in this study address important aspects of nonwoody fuel flammability in coniferous forests. Ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, Monterey pine, coast redwood, knobcone pine, giant sequoia, and sugar pine ranked in the upper half of most of the burn categories. These highly flammable species are prominent in communities for which fire return intervals are two to four decades. Lodgepole pine, western redcedar, Douglas-fir, Pacific silver fir, subalpine fir, and western hemlock seldom ranked in the upper half of any of the burn categories. The needles of these species are less flammable than the upper group of seven. The fire return intervals for the communities in which they grow are commonly two or more centuries.

Citation: Fonda, Richard W.; Belanger, L. A.; Burley, L. L. 1998. Burning characteristics of western conifer needles. Northwest Science 72(1):1-9.

Cataloging Information

  • Abies amabilis
  • Abies lasiocarpa
  • coniferous forests
  • conifers
  • experimental fires
  • fire danger rating
  • fire frequency
  • flammability
  • laboratory fires
  • needles
  • Oregon
  • pine forests
  • Pinus contorta
  • Pinus lambertiana
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • Pinus radiata
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • Sequoia
  • Sequoia sempervirens
  • Thuja plicata
  • Tsuga heterophylla
  • vegetation surveys
  • Washington
Tall Timbers Record Number: 11017Location Status: In-fileCall Number: Fire FileAbstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 36624

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by Tall Timbers 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 Tall Timbers.