You are here

Fuel PARticle DYnamics (FPARDY)

The research project presented here, labeled FPARDY (Fuel PARticle DYnamics), is one of many new efforts to explore surface fuel characteristics at the particle, layer, and fuelbed levels across major forest ecosystem types in the US northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) to develop a set of products that integrate these findings into standard fuel applications. First, we will select stands that are representative of NRM forest vegetation types in composition and structure. We will then measure many fuel properties in situ using a nested sampling design. We will then collect some of the fuels and bring them back to the lab to measure many other physical and chemical characteristics. Once we have the physical and chemical characteristics of the particle, layer and fuelbed as a whole, we will then explore any relationships that can be detected by correlating management-oriented variables, such as loading, to a suite of other variables computed at the three scales in this study. We will also use using advanced statistical clustering and modeling to explore new ways of classifying and sampling fuels based on loadings. After we have thoroughly explored all possible relationships, we will start the development of new methods, protocols, technology, and applications for wildland fuel management. At a minimum, we will develop new sampling methods and new classifications for wildland fuels, and produce guidebooks on how to assign fuel characteristics to wildland fuelbeds.

The FPARTY project has one primary objectives and a number of specific objectives:

  • Explore the structure, composition, and properties of surface and canopy fuelbeds in NRM forests

This objective can be achieved using the following steps described as sub-objectives;

  • Measure fuelbed properties in situ at the particle, layer, and fuelbed scales for major forest types of the northern Rocky Mountains
  • Collect all fuel particles from fuelbed for further laboratory analysis to determine a set of fuel particle properties that are important in fuel description, fire modeling, and fuel sampling
  • Perform statistical analysis to explore relationships of measured particle properties to loading by fuel component
  • Develop a set of deliverables that synthesizes the findings of the fuels exploration into management guides, protocols, and technology.

The audience for this effort is managers and researchers interested in describing and sampling fuels for fire behavior and effects prediction. This research may lead to new methods of simplifying fuels characteristics to aid fuel mapping efforts. Moreover, it should provide important parameters and values for fuel sampling efforts.

Photo: A typical microplot from the FPARDY study

A typical microplot from the FPARDY study before the woody material and vegetation is removed for lab sampling.

Modified: Jun 02, 2017

Select Publications & Products

Keane, R. E. and L. J. Dickinson. 2007. The Photoload sampling technique: estimating surface fuel loadings using downward looking photographs. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-190, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station.

Keane, R. E., K. Gray, and V. Bacciu. 2012. Spatial variability of wildland fuel characteristics in northern Rocky Mountain ecosystems. Research Paper RMRS-RP-98, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Keane, R. E. and M. G. Rollins. 2006. The scientific foundation of the LANDFIRE project. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-175, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, CO USA.

Lutes, D. C., R. E. Keane, J. F. Caratti, C. H. Key, N. C. Benson, S. Sutherland, and L. J. Gangi. 2006. FIREMON: Fire effects monitoring and inventory system. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-164-CD, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, CO USA.