Authors: Fengjun Zhao; Yongqiang Liu; Benjamin Hornsby; Jeffrey Schardt; Scott Goodrick;This study analyzes the properties of forest fuels and fire emissions of the 2016 Rough Ridge Fire in northern Georgia. Fuel samples were collected in paired burned and unburned plots. BlueSky was used to estimate fire emissions. The litter and duff layers were nearly 4 and 9 cm deep, respectively, and the woody fuel loads of 1-1000 hours were between nearly 1 and 4 tons / acre in the unburned plot. Model estimates of accumulated daily PM2.5 emissions from the fire were about 1300-2400 tons with heat release of about 5300 BTU/ft2 under the very dry conditions. A unique fuel feature was the high ratio of pine to hardwood fuels, which was nearly zero in the digital photo series. Furthermore, the fire site has not experienced a wildfire for decades. Thus, the measured litter and duff layers were much deeper than the FCCS default values, leading to much larger PM2.5 emissions and heat release. Also, total fire emissions under the extremely dry conditions in the fall of 2016 were greater than normal. We propose that the oil-rich species, lack of historical wildland fires, and severe droughts all contributed to the unprecedented fire behavior.
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