Land managers have a new tool in their firefighting arsenals that models forest fuels in three dimensions. These 3D fuel models have the potential to make firefighting and the management of controlled burns safer and less costly while helping to protect valuable natural resources.
The 3D fuels modeling technique will benefit land managers by allowing firefighters to develop better strategies and helping predict future fire behavior. It was recently tested at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
Managers will be able to input 3D fuels from this research into next-generation fire behavior models. This will allow them to test different ignition patterns for a prescribed burn to see how the resulting fire behaves in 3D.
Running 3D simulations can help firefighting teams develop strategies to manage or extinguish future fires as safely and economically as possible.