Invasive perennial grass weeds: a new fuel type?

John Stoner, Robyn Adams and Dianne Simmons, School of Ecology and Environment, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia.


Key findings

Phalaris aquatica retains much of its biomass as standing dead matter, greatly increasing the accumulated fuel load and the potential available fuel throughout the year.
• Fuel loads of Phalaris aquatica are significantly greater than those of native grasses.
• Bulk density is not significantly different between grass species, giving Phalaris aquatica a well-aerated, flammable fuel bed.
• Increased fuel load and a greater fuel height will lead to increased fire intensity, flame heights and scorch heights.
• Current fire management practices do not take these new fuel types into account.
• There are currently no fire behaviour models which can adequately predict fire behaviour in these new grass fuel types

 

Plant Protection Quarterly (2005) 20 (1) 21.