University Of Tasmania
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Measuring a fire. The story of the January 2019 fire told from measurements at the warra supersite, Tasmania

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posted on 2023-05-21, 12:22 authored by Timothy WardlawTimothy Wardlaw
Non-stand-replacing wildfires are the most common natural disturbance in the tall eucalypt forests of Tasmania, yet little is known about the conditions under which these fires burn and the effects they have on the forest. A dry lightning storm in January 2019 initiated the Riveaux Road fire. This fire burnt nearly 64,000 ha of land, including tall eucalypt forests at the Warra Supersite. At the Supersite, the passage of the fire was recorded by a suite of instruments measuring weather conditions and fluxes (carbon, water and energy), while a network of permanent plots measured vegetation change. Weather conditions in the lead-up and during the passage of the fire through the Supersite were mild-a moderate forest fire danger index. The passage of the fire through the Supersite caused a short peak in air temperature coinciding with a sharp rise in CO2 emissions. Fine fuels and ground vegetation were consumed but the low intensity fire only scorched the understorey trees, which subsequently died and left the Eucalyptus obliqua canopy largely intact. In the aftermath of the fire, there was prolific seedling regeneration, a sustained reduction in leaf area index, and the forest switched from being a carbon sink before the fire to becoming a carbon source during the first post-fire growing season.


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School of Natural Sciences



Place of publication

Basel, Switzerland

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Copyright 2021 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://

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  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences