Research reports related to rural fire danger in New Zealand. These include monitoring moisture codes in New Zealand pine plantation fuels, analysis of seasonal trends in the Drought Code and revision of the Fire Danger Class Criteria for Forest and Rural Areas in New Zealand.
Veronica R. Clifford & Stuart A.J. Anderson
This study sought to undertake an investigation into validating the FWI System fuel moisture codes for New Zealand pine plantation fuels.
Published Online - Sep 2009.
This study sought to undertake an investigation into validating the FWI System fuel moisture codes for New Zealand pine plantation fuels. Despite recommendations to do so, no assessment has been carried out of the FWI System to New Zealand conditions. It is important that fire managers have faith in the capability of the FWI System. It must provide accurate information for managers about the risk of fire for fire prevention activities, and to prepare for and respond to fires when they occur. The findings suggest that the fuel moisture codes of the FWI System may not be performing adequately for accurate fire danger assessment in New Zealand plantation forests. However, this study was an initial attempt to validate the FWI System using just two pine plantation sites in Canterbury. Further research is recommended to fully validate the FWI System in New Zealand pine plantations.
H. Grant Pearce and Meredith A. Whitmore
Trends in DC values for a number of stations from several regions of the country were investigated to determine whether concerns that values of the DC component are increasing over time in New Zealand due to calculation issues, particularly a lack of annual re-setting, or possibly climate change.
Published Online - Mar 2009.
The Drought Code (DC) component of the Fire Weather Index (FWI) System provides a measure of the effect of long-term drying on the moisture content of deep, compacted organic layers within the soil profile. Fire managers have expressed concern that values of the DC component are increasing over time in New Zealand due to calculation issues, particularly a lack of annual re-setting, or possibly climate change. Trends in DC values for a number of stations from several regions of the country were investigated to determine whether these concerns were justified. The study also forms part of the broader validation of the FWI System to New Zealand conditions.
Martin E. Alexander
An updated edition (with corrections, including an amendment to Table 1a) of Marty Alexander's 1994 report on the criteria used to define the fire danger classes in New Zealand. The report is divided into two separate parts for the convenience of the reader: Field Application, and Research Documentation. The Field Application section is for those interested only in the practical aspects of applying the criteria, whereas the Research Documentation section is for those who are interested in how the criteria were derived, and the procedures involved, mathematical analyses and associated philosophical discussion.
Alexander, M.E. 2008. Proposed revision of fire danger class criteria for forest and rural areas in New Zealand. 2nd Edition. National Rural Fire Authority, Wellington, in association with Scion, Rural Fire Research Group, Christchurch. 62 p. [Reprint with corrections]. A fire danger class scheme based on Byram’s concept of fire intensity as a yardstick of suppression difficulty has been devised for two broad fuel types (forests and grasslands) using the Canadian Forest Fire Behavior Prediction System. Five fire danger classes are recognized: LOW, MODERATE, HIGH, VERY HIGH, and EXTREME. Inputs include the Initial Spread Index and Buildup Index components of the Fire Weather Index System and a visual assessment of the Degree of Curing in grasslands. A field application section presents separate tables and graphs for determining Forest and Grassland fire danger classes. A research documentation section describes the derivation of the fire danger class criteria. The classification scheme is designed primarily for fire prevention purposes in connection with the general public (i.e., to inform the lay person of impending fire danger conditions so as to limit the number of potential ignitions -- in other words, the efforts are directed at the “heat” side of the fire triangle).
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Senior Fire Scientist, Rural Fire Research