ITTO Guidelines on Fire Management in Tropical Forests: Appendix 7


ITTO Guidelines on Fire Management in Tropical Forests

Appendix 7


Selected important wildland fire management terms are given in this appendix. Some of these terms are taken from the United Nations Wildland Fire Management Terminology (FAO 1986) and may have been modified for this document.


Aerial Fuels The standing and supported forest combustibles not in direct contact with the ground and consisting mainly of foliage, twigs, branches, stems, bark, lianas and other vines. In general they easy dry out and may carry surface fires into the canopy. Agrosilvopastoral
Land use system in which woody perennials are used on the same land as agricultural crops and animals, in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. In fire management agrosilvopastoral systems are planned on fuelbreaks (particularly shaded fuelbreaks) to reduce fire risk by modifying understory vegetation and soil cover. Backfire A fire set along the inner edge of a control line to consume the fuel in the path of a forest fire and/or change the direction of force of the fire’s convection column. Note: doing this on a small scale and with closer control, in order to consume patches of unburned fuel and aid control-line construction (as in mopping-up) is distinguished as “burning out, firing out, clean burning”. Broadcast Burning Allowing a prescribed fire to burn over a designated area within well-defined boundaries for reduction of fuel hazard, as a silvicultural treatment, or both. Center Firing A method of broadcast burning in which fires are set in the center of the area to create a strong indraft; additional fires are then set progressively nearer the outer control lines as indraft builds up so as to draw them in toward the center. Control a Fire To complete a control line around a fire, any spot fires there from, and any interior islands to be saved, and cool down all hot spots that are immediate threats to the control line, until the line can reasonably be expected to hold under foreseeable conditions. Counter Fire Fire set between main fire and backfire to hasten spread of backfire. Also called draft fire. The act of setting counter fires is sometimes called front firing or strip firing. Crown Fire A fire that advances from top to top of trees or shrubs more or less independently of the surface fire. Drip Torch A hand-held apparatus for igniting prescribed fires and backfires by dripping flaming fuel on the materials to be burned. The device consists of a fuel fount, burner arm, and igniter. The fuel used is generally diesel or stove oil with gasoline added. Early Burning Prescribed burning early in the dry season before grass, tree leaves and undergrowth are completely dry or before the leaves are shed, as an insurance against more severe fire damage later on. Firebreak Any natural or constructed discontinuity in a fuelbed utilized to segregate, stop, and control the spread of fire or to provide a control line from which to suppress a fire; characterized by complete lack of combustibles down to mineral soil (as distinguished from fuelbreak). Fire Danger Rating A component of a fire management system that integrates the effects of selected fire danger factors into one or more qualitative or numerical indices of current protection needs. Fire Hazard A fuel complex, defined by volume, type, condition, arrangement, and location, that determines the degree both of ease of ignition and of fire suppression difficulty. Fire Intelligence All infrastructures, communication, base data and other hard- and software that provide the inputs to an information and decision-support system in fire management. Fire Management All activities required for the protection of burnable forest values from fire and the use of fire to meet land management goals and objectives. Fire Prevention All measures in fire management, forest management, forest utilization and concerning the land users and the general public that may result in the prevention of outbreak of fires or the reduction of fire severity and spread. Fire Retardant Any substance except plain water that by chemical or physical action reduces the flammability of fuels or slows their rate of combustion, e.g., a liquid or slurry applied aerially or from the ground during a fire suppression operation. Forest Residue The accumulation in the forest of living or dead, mostly woody material that is added to and rearranged by human activities such as forest harvest, cultural operations, and land clearing. Fuel All combustible organic material in forests and other vegetation types, including agricultural systems. Fuelbreak Generally wide (20 – 300 meters) strips of land on which either less flammable native vegetation is maintained and integrated into fire management planning, or vegetation has been permanently modified so that fires burning into them can be more readily controlled (as distinguished from firebreak). Some fuelbreaks contain narrow firebreaks which may be roads or narrower hand-constructed lines. During fires, these firebreaks can quickly be widened either with hand tools or by firing out. Fuelbreaks have the advantages of preventing erosion, offering a safe place for firefighters to work, low maintenance, and a pleasing appearance. Ground Fire A fire burning in organic terrain, e.g. dried tropical swamps and peat layers. Ladder Fuels Fuels which provide vertical continuity between strata. Fire is able to carry from surface fuels into the crowns of trees or shrubs with relative ease and help assure initiation and continuation of crown fires. Mass Fire A fire resulting from many simultaneous ignitions. These fires generate high levels of energy output. Preattack Planning Fire planning within designated blocks of land, covering the following items: locations of fire lines, base camps, water sources, helispots, transportation systems, probable rates of travel, constraints of travel on various types of attack units, determining of construction of particular fire lines, the probable rate of line construction, topographic constraints on line construction, etc.. Prescribed Burning Controlled application of fire to vegetation in either their natural or modified state, under specified environmental conditions which allow the fire to be confined to a predetermined area and at the same time to produce the intensity of heat and rate of spread required to attain planned resource management objectives. Prescribed Fire A fire burning within prescription. The fire may result from either planned or unplanned ignitions Pre-Suppression Planning All measures of fire intelligence and preparedness for fire suppression actions. Seasonal Forest A closed deciduous forest, or an open forest with continuous grass cover, distinguished from other tropical forests by distinct seasonality and low rainfall. Includes closed forests made up of deciduous hardwoods which shed their leaves during the dry season and woody/tree savannas. Shaded Fuelbreak Fuelbreaks built in forest areas where the trees on the break are thinned and pruned to reduce the fire potential yet retain enough crown canopy to make it possible to control surface fires more easily. Silvopastoral Systems see Agrosilvopastoral Systems. Smoke Management The application of knowledge of fire behavior and meteorological processes to minimize air quality degradation during prescribed fires. Surface Fire Fire that burns only surface litter, other loose debris of the forest floor, and small vegetation. Tropical Moist Forest Forest biome situated in areas receiving not less than 100 mm of rain in any month for two out of three years, with a mean annual temperature of 24° C or higher; mostly low-lying, generally closed. Values-at-Risk Any or all of the natural resources or improvements which may be jeopardized if a fire occurs. Wildfire Any fire occurring on wildland except a fire under prescription. Wildland/Residential Interface That line, area, or zone where structures and other human development meets or intermingles with undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuels.



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