Elia, Mario and Lafortezza, Raffaele and Lovreglio, Raffaella and Sanesi, Giovanni (2015) Developing custom fire behavior fuel models for Mediterranean wildland–urban interfaces in southern Italy. Environmental Management (in press). ISSN 0364-152X. eISSN 1432-1009. Article.
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The dramatic increase of fire hazard in wildland–urban interfaces (WUIs) has required more detailed fuel management programs to preserve ecosystem functions and human settlements. Designing effective fuel treatment strategies allows to achieve goals such as resilient landscapes, fire-adapted communities, and ecosystem response. Therefore, obtaining background information on forest fuel parameters and fuel accumulation patterns has become an important first step in planning fuel management interventions. Site-specific fuel inventory data enhance the accuracy of fuel management planning and help forest managers in fuel management decision-making. We have customized four fuel models for WUIs in southern Italy, starting from forest classes of land-cover use and adopting a hierarchical clustering approach. Furthermore, we provide a prediction of the potential fire behavior of our customized fuel models using FlamMap 5 under different weather conditions. The results suggest that fuel model IIIP (Mediterranean maquis) has the most severe fire potential for the 95th percentile weather conditions and the least severe potential fire behavior for the 85th percentile weather conditions. This study shows that it is possible to create customized fuel models directly from fuel inventory data. This achievement has broad implications for land managers, particularly forest managers of the Mediterranean landscape, an ecosystem that is susceptible not only to wildfires but also to the increasing human population and man-made infrastructures.
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