Scientists & Staff

Spot fire merging in longleaf pine needles

David Weise

Research Forester
4955 Canyon Crest Drive
Riverside, CA, 92507-6071
Phone: 951-680-1543

Contact David Weise

Resume (768 KB PDF)

Current Research

I am conducting research on the mechanisms of fire behavior in live fuels with a team composed primarily of university collaborators and students at Brigham Young University and the University of Alabama at Huntsville and scientists in the RMRS Fire, Fuels and Smoke Program. The objectives of this research are to improve understanding of the relative importance of several factors such as chemical composition and water content, heat transfer modes and fluxes (convection and radiation), fuel particle geometry and fuel bed arrangement on pre-ignition and ignition processes and on subsequent fire spread within and between live shrub fuels. A DOD project funded in 2016 involving over 15 scientists will be studying the effects of heat transfer on pyrolysis and ignition of southern live fuels ( Fire spread in chaparral fuels is being examined at three scales - the fuel element, the fuel bed, and in the field through a combination of experimentation and modeling. I am testing and validating laboratory scale results in field settings wherein the conditions are much less controlled and the fuel beds are more complex in live fuels such as chaparral, sagebrush and forests with shrub understories. An important aspect of the testing includes evaluation of existing fire behavior models such as WFDS and BEHAVE using experimental data.

Research Interests

My entire research career has been focussed on prescribed burning ranging from fire effects to my more recent focus on fire behavior and smoke.

Why This Research is Important

Effective use of prescribed burning requires both an understanding of fire behavior and the associated ecological effects. We must understand the important factors which govern fire behavior in living vegetation, an understudied research area, in order to model and predict fire behavior in these important fuel types.


  • University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D. Wildland Resource Science Biometrics, fire modeling, 1993
  • Auburn University, M.S. Forest biometrics, 1986
  • Auburn University, B.S. Forest Management (Honors Program), 1984
  • Auburn University, Cooperative Education Certificate Practical work experience, 1984

Professional Experience

  • Research Forester, PSW Fire and Fuels Program, Riverside, CA 2016 - Current
  • Research Forester (Team Leader), Fire and Fuels Program, PSW Research Station, Forest Service, Riverside, CA 2011 - 2015
  • Supervisory Research Forester (Project Leader), Prescribed Fire and Fire Effects Research Work Unit, Forest Fire Laboratory, PSW Research Station, Forest Service, Riverside, CA 1994 - 2010
  • Forester, Prescribed Fire and Fire Effects RWU, Forest Fire Laboratory, PSW Research Station, Forest Service, Riverside, CA 1987 - 1993
  • Forester, Fire Science Adaptations RWU, Southern Forest Fire Laboratory, SE Forest Experiment Station, Forest Service, Macon, GA 1984 - 1986
  • Student Trainee (Forestry), Fire Science Adaptations RWU, Southern Forest Fire Laboratory, SE Forest Experiment Station, Forest Service, Macon, GA 1980 - 1983

Professional Organizations

  • Society of American Foresters (SAF) (1981 - Current)

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

National Research Highlights

Flaming with special sample holder with thermocouples in the cone calorimeter test

Pyrolysis and Combustion Material Properties of Naturally Heterogeneous Fuel Beds of Southern Pine Forests

Year: 2018

Detailed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models for fire behavior of various live and dead foliage can benefit from the Forest Products Laboratory's detailed fundamental measurements for composition, thermal, moisture, pyrolysis, and combustion properties that are quite different than that of wood.

Merging of a ring of fire burning in longleaf pine understory (Pinus palustris Mill). Note the significant change in fire behavior as the flame fronts converge.

Scientists model interaction of multiple fires

Year: 2017

Using multiple fires is a key tool used by prescribed burners to control fire behavior but understanding and measurements of how the fires interact are generally lacking.

Chamise (a), and manzanita (b) growth originating from sprouting lignotubers burned in October 2006 on the North Mountain Experimental Area near Riverside, California, July 2010.

How does a crown fire spread in shrubs?

Year: 2017

The details of how a flame spreads through the canopy of a shrubland is not well-described in scientific literature. Recent experiments and modeling by Forest Service scientists and their partners confirm that fire spread in shrub canopies is influenced by the same factors that are important for crown fires in coniferous forests.

Fire brands can rapidly advance a fire perimeter and increase the challenge to fire suppression forces.

Synthesis of firebrand knowledge and research

Year: 2011

Firebrands are an important fire spread mechanism in wildland and urban fires. While known since at least the Great London Fire of 1666, the firebrand phenomenon has been studied occasionally over the years. Recent interest in firebrand production, transport, and ignition success suggested the need for a review of literature and recommendations for future research.

Last modified: Friday, January 12, 2018