Spatial models for monitoring the spatio-temporal evolution of ashes after fire – a case study of a burnt grassland in Lithuania
Ash thickness is a key variable in the protection of soil against erosion agents after planned and unplanned fires. Ash thickness measurements were conducted along two transects (flat and sloping areas) following a grided experimental design. In order to interpolate data with accuracy and identify the techniques with the least bias, several interpolation methods were tested in the grided plot. Overall, the fire had a low severity. However, the fire significantly reduced the ground cover, especially on sloping areas, owing to the higher fire severity and/or less biomass previous to the fire. Ash thickness depended on fire severity and was thin where fire severity was higher and thicker in lower fire severity sites. The ash thickness decreased with time after the fire. Between 4 and 16 days after the fire, ash was transported by wind. The greatest reduction took place between 16 and 34 days after the fire as a result of rainfall, and was more efficient where fire severity was higher. Between 34 and 45 days after the fire, no significant differences in ash thickness were identified among ash colours and only traces of the ash layer remained. The omni-directional experimental variograms showed that variable structure did not change significantly with time. The ash spatial variability increased with time, particularly on the slope, as a result of water erosion.