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FSU expert investigating impact of prescribed burns

Burn FB
A directed burn at the Jones Center at Ichauway in Netown, Georgia, which was part of Associate Professor Bryan Quaife's research.  (Courtesy of Bryan Quaife)
A directed burn at the Jones Center at Ichauway in Netown, Georgia, which was part of Associate Professor Bryan Quaife’s research. (Courtesy of Bryan Quaife)

Prescribed burns are an important tool to limit the harmful effects of wildfires, but they require proper planning and conditions.

The US Forest Service recently announced a pause in the use of prescribed burning on National Forest System lands while the agency conducts a review of protocols and practices. The announcement comes as firefighters continue to battle a New Mexico wildfire that started with a prescribed burn.

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Bryan Quaife, a researcher at Florida State University, uses scientific computing to investigate the spread of fires. He is part of an interdisciplinary research team examining the optimal properties of controlled burns in the longleaf pine forests of Florida and elsewhere in the southeastern United States, work that could help land managers reduce devastating effects of forest fires.

Bryan Quaife, associate professor in the Department of Scientific Computing
Bryan Quaife, associate professor in the Department of Scientific Computing

Bryan Quaife, Associate Professor, Department of Scientific Computing; Associate Professor, Institute of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
(512) 436-1148; [email protected]

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Quaife studies the modeling and dynamics of fires. His research contributes to the understanding of fire spread and helps improve the tools land managers and firefighters use to make decisions in the field.

“Our study considers the impact of prescribed burns on longleaf pine forests and the resilience of this ecosystem. We are looking for more information on the characteristics that make prescribed burning the most effective. Some prescribed burning is useful, but overuse of this tool has an impact on human health and the economy. We also consider the resilience of the landscape and study how long it takes for the ecosystem to bounce back to where it was before the fire.

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