USDA Forest Service
Rocky Mountain Research Station
Forestry Sciences Laboratory - Moscow, Idaho
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Comments from the Field: Using the DMM600 duff moisture meter
Lonnie Newton, IPNF Fuel Specialist
Lonnie Newton of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest is an experienced instructor with the Southwest Fire Use Training Academy (SW FUTA) in Albuquerque, NM. He used a DMM600 during 2003 field training for fire professionals from various federal and state agencies. These are his comments following the training sessions.

Lonnie Newton and students
Lonnie Newton with students of the Southwest Fire Use Training Academy.
"Your DMM was a great hit, thanks for letting me use it! I am personally really excited about it now that I have worked with [it] a little more and understand it better. I have been telling everybody about it from border to border. You guys did a really good job, I really like it. … Bottom line is that it is an excellent tool that allows us to make real-time management decisions. I think that it is awesome! Thanks a million for letting me us this one! It definitely got tons of mileage with SW FUTA."

Lonnie developed How the DMM600 Works (222K PDF file) as an instructional aid to help users understand the difference between gravimetric and volumetric water content and to show how the DMM output can be used in the FOFEM modeling program.

More photos of SW FUTA students using the DMM600.

Harold Osborn, retired forestry professor
Harold Osborn currently manages and teaches at the University of Idaho Experimental Forest. He used the duff moisture meter for a prescribed fire class he taught in 2003. His comments include:

"On the class burns we had readings in the lower duff down to 27% GMC with unit averages around 45%. After 1 inch of precip between Oct 12-16 we had readings up to 80% with average close to 70%. We began burning soon after the Oct rains, based on fine fuel moisture and fuel moisture differentials. We quit a few days before the high winds. I have not yet conducted post burn evaluations with the class. We go out with the class on Nov 15, hopefully with no snow cover. I did walk several units the next day and we retained much of the duff layer by my ocular assessment.

We found the DMM easy to use. I had at least 8 different students using it within minutes and they used the duff moisture readings in their fire modeling."
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