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The fuel moisture index based on understorey Hygrochron iButton humidity and temperature measurements reliably predicts fine fuel moisture content in Tasmanian Eucalyptus forests

Citation

Bowman, DMJS and Furlaud, JM and Porter, M and Williamson, GJ, The fuel moisture index based on understorey Hygrochron iButton humidity and temperature measurements reliably predicts fine fuel moisture content in Tasmanian Eucalyptus forests, Fire, 2022, (5) Article 130. ISSN 2571-6255 (2022) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Statement

2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

DOI: doi:10.3390/fire5050130

Abstract

Fine fuel moisture content (FFMC) is a key determinant of wildfire occurrence, behaviour, and pyrogeographic patterns. Accurate determination of FFMC is laborious, hence managers and ecologists have devised a range of empirical and mechanistic measures for FFMC. These FFMC measures, however, have received limited field validation against field-based gravimetric fuel moisture measurements. Using statistical modelling, we evaluate the use of the relationship between gravimetric FFMC and the Fuel Moisture Index (FMI), based on Hygrochron iButton humidity and temperature dataloggers. We do this in Tasmanian wet and dry Eucalyptus forests subjected to strongly contrasting disturbance histories and, hence, percentage of canopy cover. We show that 24 h average FMI based on data from Hygrochron iButtons 0.75 m above the forest floor provides reliable estimates of gravimetric litter fuel moisture (c. 1 h fuels) that are strongly correlated with near surface gravimetric fuel moisture sticks (c. 10 h fuels). We conclude FMI based on Hygrochron iButton data provides ecologists with an economic and effective method to retrospectively measure landscape patterns in fuel moisture in Tasmanian forests.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:fire, fuel, moisture, eucalyptus, iButton datalogger, fire danger index, fuel moisture stick, humidity, temperature, microclimate, meteorological data, wildfire
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Forestry sciences
Research Field:Forestry fire management
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Natural hazards
Objective Field:Climatological hazards (e.g. extreme temperatures, drought and wildfires)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
UTAS Author:Furlaud, JM (Mr James Furlaud)
UTAS Author:Porter, M (Ms Meagan Porter)
UTAS Author:Williamson, GJ (Dr Grant Williamson)
ID Code:152980
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2022-08-31
Last Modified:2022-10-10
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