International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Does season affect fire behaviour in the Cerrado?

Mariana Ninno Rissi A D , M. Jaime Baeza B C , Elizabeth Gorgone-Barbosa A , Talita Zupo A and Alessandra Fidelis A

A Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Instituto de Biociências, Departamento de Botânica, Avenida 24-A 1515, 13506-900, Rio Claro, Brazil.

B Universidad de Alicante, Departamento. Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias, Apartado de Correos 99, Alicante, 03080, Spain.

C Fundación CEAM (Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterráneo), c/ Charles Darwin 14, 46.980, Valencia, Spain.

D Corresponding author. Email: mariananinno@yahoo.com.br

International Journal of Wildland Fire 26(5) 427-433 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF14210
Submitted: 25 November 2014  Accepted: 7 March 2017   Published: 9 May 2017

Abstract

Fire has played an important role in the plant dynamics and diversity of the Cerrado for millions of years. We evaluated fire behaviour in different fire seasons in areas of an open savanna, providing information for fire management plans. It has been hypothesised that early fires (May – end of the rainy season) will be less intense than those conducted in the middle and end of the dry season (July and October) owing to the amount of dead biomass accumulated. Therefore, we compared fire behaviour in early, mid- and late dry season, evaluating the main fire and environmental variables. Fire intensity was mainly influenced by the combination of dead fuel percentage and fuel load. Even though this combination was the best model to explain fire intensity variability, fire parameters (including fire intensity) did not differ between fire seasons. Flame height was best explained by dead fuel percentage + fuel moisture content, dead fuel percentage + fuel load and also by dead fuel percentage. Our study showed that, in areas with fire exclusion for 2 years, fire season did not influence fire parameters and fire behaviour and the main factors influencing fire intensity were the proportion of dead biomass and total fuel load.

Additional keywords: fire intensity, fuel availability, savanna, fuel.


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