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Unit 3: Topography & Fire Behavior

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Effects of Microclimate Conditions on Fuel Availability and Type

The type and availability of fuels can be affected by microclimate (climate of a small area) conditions due to:

  1. Localized weather patterns.
  2. Product of accumulative weather.
  3. Local soil and terrain factors.

The graphic below summarizes the effects of aspect on fuels. Take a few moments to look over this figure. Then study the next figure below. Recall the heat transfer processes involved in fire spread on a slope.

Fuel temperature and moisture by aspect

Fuel temperature and moisture by aspect

Slope affects fire spread

Slope affects fire spread

Fire on steep slope

Fire on steep slope

The graphic below illustrates a fire burning near the top of a ridge with flames bending back into the fire. Why would this be?

Fire at top of slope

Fire at top of slope

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2005, October 20). Unit 3: Topography & Fire Behavior. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: http://ocw.usu.edu/Forest__Range__and_Wildlife_Sciences/Wildland_Fire_Management_and_Planning/Unit_3__Topography___Fire_Behavior_2.html. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License