Wildland fires present a threat to both the environment and to homes and businesses in the wildland urban interface. Understanding the behavior of wildland fires is crucial for developing informed risk management techniques, such as prescribed burning, to prevent uncontrolled fires, which devastate communities globally. In this work, an optically accessible facility was developed combining traditional and optical diagnostic techniques to study the combustion of wildland fuels. This facility was then used to study the burning characteristics of loblolly pine needles (Pinus taeda). Mass loss rate, flame temperature, propagation rate, flame geometry, and OH* chemiluminescent flame intensity were measured for fuel loadings of 0.98, 1.31, and 1.63 kg/m2. Mass loss rate increased linearly with fuel loading. The flame propagation rate increased slightly with fuel loading while approaching an asymptotic value. The flame height and surface area increased more significantly with fuel loading, but also approached asymptotic values. Flame depth increased slightly with fuel loading, and throughout the duration of the test. The flame intensity and flame temperature did not change significantly with fuel loading.