North American Fires 2017-2018

By Pau Costa Foundation on

Session: Global Wildfire Challenges

Presenter: Russell A Parsons (Fire Sciences Lab, Missoula, MT, US Forest Service)

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The Fire Sciences lab in Missoula, MT is the largest of three labs within the Forest Service that are dedicated to wildland fire. Started in late 1960, the lab has about 85 full time employees working in a wide range of fire science related themes. Over the course of the over 50 years that this lab has been in existence, it has had an important role in improving our understanding of wildland fire, and in developing tools to help managers make decisions regarding fire and natural resource management.


ABSTRACT: My research focuses on fuel and fire behavior modeling, where I examine how fuel changes, from fuel treatments, or other disturbances like beetle attacks, may alter fire behavior. Modeling plays a key role in such assessments, as it is often difficult to set up real world experiments that can fully capture these interactions. However, modeling can also be challenging due to differences in detail in how we measure and describe fuels, and how they are represented in fire models.  Over the last few years I have been engaged in developing a modeling platform, called STANDFIRE, that represents fuels in 3D and which provide inputs to computational fluid dynamics (CFD) physics-based fire models. Such models enable detailed examination of fuel-fire interactions and facilitate more in-depth analysis of fuel treatment effectiveness and restoration strategies in forested ecosystems. In the next few years I hope to broaden this system to a wider range of fire management questions and more diverse ecosystems. In this workshop, I am very excited to learn about the diverse fire research being carried out in Catalunya, and am eager to discuss collaborations in applied and pure fire research themes in fuels, fire behavior, fire effects, and fire management.

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