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The role of fire in management of watershed responses

Author(s): Malcomb J. Zwolinski
Year Published: 2000

Hydrologic responses of watersheds are strongly related to vegetation and soil disturbances. Many of the storage and transfer components of the global hydrologic cycle are altered by the occurrence of fire. The major effect of fire on the hydrologic functioning of watersheds is the removal of vegetation and litter materials that protect the soil surface. Reductions in interception and evapotranspiration losses, infiltration rates and soil moisture deficits following severe fires result in more water available for surface runoff and subsequent changes in peak discharges, erosion, sedimentation and water quality. Watershed management implications regarding fire severity, wildfire and prescribed burns are discussed.

Citation: Zwolinski, Malcolm J. 2000. The role of fire in management of watershed responses. In: Ffolliott, Peter F.; Baker Jr., Malchus B.; Edminster, Carleton B.; Dillon, Madelyn C.; Mora, Karen L., tech. coords. Land stewardship in the 21st Century: the contributions of watershed management. 2000 March 13-16; Tucson, AZ. Proceedings RMRS-P-13. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 367-370.
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Ecological - First Order, Fire Intensity / Burn Severity, Ecological - Second Order, Soils, Water, Fire Regime
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
NRFSN number: 12004
FRAMES RCS number: 15255
Record updated: May 10, 2018