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A JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network
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The ability of wildfire to act as a fuel treatment

Date: January 21, 2015
Presenter(s): Sean A. Parks
Description: This webinar highlighted results from a study investigating the ability of wildfire to act as a fuel treatment. The study evaluated whether or not wildfires limited the occurrence, size, and severity of subsequent wildfires in four large wilderness complexes in Idaho, Montana, and New Mexico. The study focused on protected areas to minimize potentially confounding anthropogenic factors (e.g., roads and fuel treatments) that may also affect fire behavior and effects. Study findings suggested that wildfires reduce the probability that subsequent fires will ignite, wildfires reduce the size of subsequent fires by acting as fuel breaks, and when wildfires do reburn previously burned areas, subsequent fire severity is significantly lower. The strength and longevity of the moderating effect of wildfires on subsequent fires varied by study area, suggesting that ecosystem-level processes controlling fire regime characteristics and regrowth of vegetation are responsible for these differences.
Topic(s): Fire Behavior, Fire Effects, Ecological - First Order, Fire Intensity / Burn Severity, Patch Size, Fire History, Fire & Wilderness, Fire Regime, Fire and Landscape Mosaics
Ecosystem(s): Montane wet mixed-conifer forest, Montane dry mixed-conifer forest
Type: Webinar
NRFSN number: 12802
Record updated: May 24, 2018