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Fire Fuel Moisture Regimes
Host Agency: US Forest Service
Contact(s): Roberta A. Bartlette 
This study's focus is addressing local knowledge gaps in characterizing soil and live fuel moisture trends in southeastern coastal plain and Appalachian vegetation complexes that are of significant concern to fire management plan development and implementation. Compared to Western species, live fuels of the Southeastern region have received little attention and few historical short-term studies have illustrated moisture trends within Southeastern live fuel species. While recent studies have examined moisture and combustion limits within organic soils, multiple year moisture trends in the fuel/soil complex have not been described or linked to weather or satellite remotely sensed data. This field project is directly measuring moisture contents in live surface fuels, root mat and organic soils in coastal plain sites and in live surface fuels and organic and/or mineral soils of upland piedmont and mountain sites. Water table wells and moisture sensors are used quantify moisture gradients within deep organic soils. Moisture sensors monitor changing moisture levels in mineral soils. Daily weather and radiometric measurements are collected from representative weather stations and used to estimate midday dead fuel moisture contents and potential evapotranspiration. Vegetation greenness is directly measured and monitored using satellite remote sensing. Understanding seasonal moisture trends in the live fuel/soil complex will identify fuel availability within these vegetation types. Linking identified combustion limits with estimated soil and leaf moistures will improve the effectiveness of prescribed fire use, fire preparedness planning and suppression by providing information not currently available in commonly used drought indices. The best methods for monitoring fuel availability will be discussed and preliminary data results will be displayed.
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Project: Characterizing Moisture Regimes For Assessing Fuel Availability In North Carolina Vegetation Communities
Cataloging Information:
live fuel moisture; longleaf pine; North Carolina; Pinus palustris; soil; South Carolina; Virginia
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Record Last Updated:
Sep 12, 2014
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