The influence of ignition technique on fire behaviour in spinifex open woodland in semiarid northern Australia

Williams, Paul R., Collins, Eleanor M., Blackman, Mick, Blackman, Clare, McLeod, Jackie, Felderhof, Leasie, Colless, Lauren, Masters, Kate, Sturgess, Andrew, and Martin, Graeme (2015) The influence of ignition technique on fire behaviour in spinifex open woodland in semiarid northern Australia. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 24. pp. 607-612.

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Unplanned, unmanaged wildfires are a significant threat to people, infrastructure and ecosystems around the world. Managed, planned burning is widely used for reducing the incidence, extent or intensity of wildfires. Fire weather and the season of burning are recognised as crucial factors influencing fire behaviour but the demonstrated influence of ignition technique on fire behaviour is not as prominently discussed in relation to planned fires. We found wildfires, irrespective of season, burnt the ground layer more completely (i.e. were less patchy) and produced greater crown scorch severity than did planned fires in a spinifex (Triodia spp.)-dominated open woodland. Fires ignited with a 50-m line burning with the wind produced significantly higher intensities than did line ignition against the wind, and spot ignitions with or against the wind. These data suggest that the higher severity of wildfires in spinifex-dominated habitats is strongly influenced by long fire fronts, in addition to fire season and weather conditions. This study supports the value of planned burning for reducing fire severity and highlights the value of spot ignitions in ecological burning to create a patchily burnt landscape, with limited canopy severity.

Item ID: 40738
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-5516
Keywords: planned burning, semiarid rangeland, wildfire, spinifex
Funders: Mt Isa Mines
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2015 04:49
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050104 Landscape Ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960505 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 100%
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