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Fuel Knowledge Platform

To understand fire, it is fundamental to describe fuels because virtually everything to do with wildland fire is determined by the quantity and quality of fuel. Fuel models are a helpful tool but they are static and describe fuel as it is at a fixed time. Fuels are dynamic and vary in quantity, quality and arrangement. Their characteristics depend on type of vegetation, age of stand, management, and weather conditions. In Europe, many different standards and approaches to describe fuels have evolved that add to the problem to commonly classify and model fuels. Hence, a data management system is needed that is highly flexible and able to handle a wide diversity of data types and methods.

The Fuel Knowledge Platform was established within Module 3 (Biological mechanisms) of the Fire Paradox Project. Ultimately, the system is a knowledge information system (rather than a simple database) which provides a general information resource to many different users. It consists of two main components, a database with stored data, and a wiki to which the fire community can contribute. The database can be used by the Fuel Manager application.

Components of the Fire Paradox Fuel Knowledge Platform

The overall goal of the Fuel Knowledge Platform is the systematic collection, storage and processing of knowledge on fuels for different users, with different needs, at different scales in order to assess the fuel complex and its fire potential from combustion to the landscape level.

The Fuel Knowledge Platform intends to:

  1. collect, store and process existing knowledge on:
    • fuel acquisition protocols / fuel sampling methods;
    • resulting fuel data categories and fuel models;
    • allocation of fuel data categories and models to different fire behaviour and fire models at different scales.
  2. generate, collect, store and process new knowledge:
    • which fuel data protocol /fuel sampling method for which purpose at which scale?
    • user needs: which user needs what information at what scale, why and when/how often?

The Platform will allow fire ecologists, modellers and managers (and eventually the general public) to access information on definitions, techniques for monitoring fuels, key fuel descriptors with regards to fire behaviour and impact and existing fuel models. The system will help to harmonize fire control planning and experimental fire procedures across Europe.

The wiki was also developed to allow the fire community to contribute information to an evolving encyclopaedia of concepts relating to fuel including definitions of terms and the methodologies used for describing fuels (and possibly other aspects of wildfire).