Green barriers of cypresses could reduce fire initiation riskSeptember 22, 2015
Every year fires burn thousands of hectares, destroy entire ecosystems and put the lives of people and animals at risk. Understanding the dynamics of fire would allow a solution to be found for the high number of incidents. Spanish and Italian researchers have studied the flammability of vegetation and shown that cypresses, capable of tolerating severe droughts and high temperatures, could be an effective barrier against fire initiation due to their low degree of ignition.
The Sierra de Gata fire (Cáceres, Spain) has been one of the most high-profile of the summer, burning more than 7,000 hectares, but it has not been the only one. Although during the 2001-2010 period the number of fires has been showing a downward trend, in 2015 alone more than 8,885 fires have razed 68,500 hectares in Spain, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment (MAGRAMA) on 30 August 2015.
In general fires are usually a natural phenomenon of many ecosystems, and fire is a land management tool, provided it is kept under control. However, climate change and current land use causes increasingly more severe fire regimes. The flames not only destroy wild habitats, but also endanger the lives of nearby populations and cause long-term damage.
One of the measures used to help to better control fires is the use of green barriers. The CypFire project, financed by the European Union, studies the possibility that planting selected varieties of cypresses reduces the risk of fire initiation in a feasible, ecological and economical way.
"We had already observed that Spain and Turkey commonly used these cypress barriers as an effective tool in preventing fires from spreading, given that they are less affected than other species of trees in forest fires," as told to SINC by the authors of the study published in the Journal of Environmental Management.
Experiments in the laboratory
These scientists, from several Spanish and Italian institutions -National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA), University Institute for Sustainable Forest Management (UVA-INIA), the IMELSA department of Monumental Trees and the Institute for the Sustainable Protection of Plants (IPSP-CNR)- took samples from the cypress plantation on CypFire's experimental plot in Jérica (Castellón, Spain) and carried out various experiments on this type of tree to understand how it reacts to fire. The team focused specifically on the nature of the vegetation's flammability, or in other words, the ease and speed at which it burns as well as the energy needed.
The researchers considered four phenomena: ignitability (capability of a material being ignited), sustainability (property of a fuel to continue burning), combustibility (speed at which a fuel burns), and consumability (amount of fuel that burns).
The aim of the study was to determine and analyse these four components in the laboratory, using live and dead fine fuel of the common cypress Cupressus sempervirens var. horizontalis involved in the process of initiating and spreading surface fire, ignition of tree canopies and subsequent spreading as an active or passive crown fire.
Low ignitability of cypresses
The particle-level results obtained in the laboratory reveal that "the samples of the cypress trees studied have a low degree of ignitability (long ignition times), high combustibility, high sustainability and low consumability, compared to other typically Mediterranean species," stresses Carmen Hernando, one of the authors and researchers at INIA, to SINC.
The work demonstrates that live and dead fine fuels of the cypresses studied are resistant to ignition due to their high ash content, and because their leaves are capable of keeping their water content high during the summer. "But once they burn their combustion is very energetic," adds Hernando.
The scientists propose the possibility of exploiting some of the morphological, functional and ecological features of the common cypress variety studied to construct a barrier system as a "promising" tool to reduce the risk of fire initiation in Mediterranean areas.
Yet the expert considers that the research should be tested on a larger scale (full tree, stand and landscape) to verify whether this species can generate low-flammability fuel structures in fires of low to medium intensity.
"These same laboratory results are not observed in the cypresses used generally as ornamental plants growing in dense hedges (given that this encourages the accumulation of dead fuel and notably increases their flammability), as has been seen in wildland-urban interfaces by fire-fighters," concludes the scientist.
Della Rocca, G.; Hernando, C.; Madrigal, J.; Danti, R.; Moya, J.; Guijarro, M.; Pecchioli, A.; Moya, B. "Possible land management uses of common cypress to reduce wildfire initiation risk: a laboratory study" Journal of Environmental Management 159: 68-77 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.05.020 agosto de 2015
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Related Fires Articles:
Most if not all the fires in this image taken by Suomi NPP satellite's VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) instrument on April 11, 2017 are controlled fires set by farmers to manage land.
Fires have been reported across several states in the southern United States and NASA's Aqua satellite using its MODIS instrument captured this image of the fires and smoke across the expanse.
Every year, about 350 million hectares of land are devastated by fires worldwide, this corresponds to about the size of India.
In many parts of the world, grass and forest fires pose a threat to animals and humans.
The oil refinery fires in Libya that were started by attacks on oil terminals in Libya in very early January continue.
Wildfires have been ravaging large parcels of land in the West and there seems to be no end in sight for the weary Westerners.
The area of forest fires in Russia's Siberian Federal District has grown over three times over the last 24 hours to 108,300 hectares (267,615 acres) for a total of 146 fires.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA's Terra satellite captured this true-color image of agricultural fires on June 13, 2015.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA's Aqua satellite collected this natural-color image which detected dozens of fires burning in southwestern Africa on May 21, 2015.
Bushfires are inevitable in the fire-prone landscapes of Western Australia.
Related Fires Reading:
Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng (Author)
The instant New York Times bestseller!
Entertainment Weekly’s #1 Must-Read Book for Fall * Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club Selection * #1 Library Reads Pick * September IndieNext Pick
“I am loving Little Fires Everywhere. Maybe my favorite novel I've read this year.”—John Green
"I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting." –Jodi Picoult
"Witty, wise, and tender. It's a marvel." – Paula Hawkins
From the bestselling author... View Details
Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics
by Lawrence O'Donnell (Author)
From the host of MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, an important and enthralling new account of the presidential election that changed everything, the race that created American politics as we know it today
The 1968 U.S. Presidential election was the young Lawrence O’Donnell’s political awakening, and in the decades since it has remained one of his abiding fascinations. For years he has deployed one of America’s shrewdest political minds to understanding its dynamics, not just because it is fascinating in itself, but because in it is contained... View Details
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
by Michael Wolff (Author)
With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Michael Wolff tells the inside story
of the most controversial presidency of our time
The first nine months of Donald Trump’s term were stormy, outrageous―and absolutely mesmerizing. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself.
In this explosive book, Wolff provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office. Among the revelations:
-- What President... View Details
A Column of Fire (Kingsbridge)
by Ken Follett (Author)
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“Absorbing . . . impossible to resist.” —The Washington Post
As Europe erupts, can one young spy protect his queen? International bestselling author Ken Follett takes us deep into the treacherous world of powerful monarchs, intrigue, murder, and treason with his magnificent new epic, A Column of Fire.
In 1558, the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, royalty and... View Details
Fire (A Companion to Graceling)
by Kristin Cashore (Author)
A breathtaking, marvelous Graceling Realm book from New York Times bestselling author Kristin Cashore.
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her. Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of... View Details
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
by Susannah Cahalan (Author)
An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity.
When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent,... View Details
To Light a Fire on the Earth: Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age
by Robert Barron (Author), John L. Allen Jr. (Author)
The highly anticipated follow-up to Bishop Robert Barron's hugely successful Catholicism: A Journey to the Faith
As secularism gains influence, and increasing numbers see religion as dull and backward, Robert Barron wants to illuminate how beautiful, intelligent, and relevant the Catholic faith is.
In this compelling new book—drawn from conversations with and narrated by award-winning Vatican journalist John L. Allen, Jr.—Barron, founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, proclaims in vivid language the goodness and truth of the Catholic... View Details
Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work
by Steven Kotler (Author), Jamie Wheal (Author)
CNBC and Strategy + Business Best Business Book of 2017
“A mind-blowing tour along the path from sex and drugs to R&D.” - Financial Times
It’s the biggest revolution you’ve never heard of, and it’s hiding in plain sight. Over the past decade, Silicon Valley executives like Eric Schmidt and Elon Musk, Special Operators like the Navy SEALs and the Green Berets, and maverick scientists like Sasha Shulgin and Amy Cuddy have turned everything we thought we knew about... View Details
Catching Fire |Hunger Games|2
by Suzanne Collins (Author)
Suzanne Collins continues the amazing story of Katniss Everdeen in the phenomenal Hunger Games trilogy.
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants... View Details
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
by J.K. Rowling (Author), Mary GrandPré (Illustrator)
The paperback edition of the legendary, record-breaking, best-selling fourth Harry Potter novel.
Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup. He wants to find out about the mysterious event that's supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal -... View Details