Developing fuel models for the Anchorage wildland-urban interface using a forest inventory
Document Type: Thesis
Author(s): Daniel L. Cheyette
Publication Year: 2005

Cataloging Information

  • Anchorage
  • Calamagrostis canadensis
  • canopy structure
  • extreme weather
  • fuel models
  • fuelbed depths
  • sensitivity analysis
  • spruce bark beetle
  • topography
  • understory
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 23, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 58477


I inventoried the forests of the Anchorage wildland-urban interface and created a hierarchical classification of twenty forest types differentiated according to tree species, tree and basal area densities and degree of spruce bark beetle mortality. The inventory included the data necessary to parameterize NEXUS - a fire behavior model that integrates surface and crown fire initiation and spread algorithms. The twenty inventory forest types consolidated into eight custom fuel models and canopy attribute sets that correspond to the cover types identified by the Anchorage Wildfire Partnership. I assessed the models using NEXUS and completed a sensitivity analysis that identified the most influential model parameters and the forest attributes that managers should prioritize in future mitigation efforts. Results indicate that needleleaf low-density forests pose the largest hazard due to large 1-hour fuel loads and fuelbed depths, low crown-base-heights and high crown bulk-densities. Stands infested by the spruce bark beetle also pose a serious hazard due to the ecological/physiological changes that promote the growth of Calamagrostis canadensis, a flash fuel that dries quickly and readily burns. The forest inventory, fire behavior predictions and sensitivity analysis demonstrate that parts of Anchorage's wildland-urban interface are at risk under extreme weather and topographic conditions.

Online Link(s):
Cheyette, Daniel L. 2005. Developing fuel models for the Anchorage wildland-urban interface using a forest inventory. Master of Science. Fairbanks, AK: University of Alaska-Fairbanks. 160 p.