Maureen Kennedy part of team creating North American wildfire fuels database and atlas

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The comprehensive gathering of all available data on living and dead biomass is the first of its kind and will help fire managers track fuel variability over time.

UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Maureen Kennedy in the classroom.A team of researchers from UW and Michigan Technological University, including UW Tacoma's Maureen Kennedy, has created a new database and maps that provide the best available inventory of living and dead biomass for all areas of North America. In forests, biomass is all the organic material, living and dead, which provides fuel for wild and prescribed fires. It includes things like trees, freshly fallen leaves and needles, shrubs, grasses, mosses, and decomposing material like logs and soil.

Scientists will be able to use the new information to make improved predictions and decisions about wildfire and smoke.

Kennedy, an assistant professor in the Sciences & Mathematics Division of the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, is the second author on a paper describing the project published Dec. 4 in the “Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences.”

A release from the UW News office explains the importance of the new vegetation database.


Written by: 
John Burkhardt / December 4, 2019
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or