How dry is it? Fuel Moisture Sampling in Denali

By Larry Weddle, Fire Management Officer
three people stand in spruce trees collecting fuel moisture samples in Denali
Denali Western Area Fire Management staff collect fuel moisture samples at the DVC RAWS site in Denali.

NPS Photo

The amount of moisture in various types of vegetation can help fire managers determine if a fire is likely to start and how it might behave once ignited. Fuel moisture strongly influences fire ignition potential and flammability.  Beginning in 2012, fire ecologists from the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service and US Fish & Wildlife Service coordinated a large effort to monitor fuel moisture trends throughout AK.  The AK NPS Fire Ecology Program established sampling sites in Denali near the Denali Visitor Center - Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS).  The data for all the sites in Alaska have been entered in the National Fuel Moisture Database.  This information has been used for fire behavior modeling and to compare duff moisture to the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS) fire danger indices.  Prior to this project, only minimal sampling of live fuel moisture has been done in Alaska.  Efforts are planned to continue sampling in 2016.

Explore more about fuel moisture sampling.