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Wildland fire: nature's fuel treatment

Author(s): Brian Cooke
Year Published: 2016

Every year wildland fires affect much more acreage in the United States compared to controlled burns. Like controlled burns, wildland fire can help promote biological diversity and healthy ecosystems. But despite these facts, wildland fire is not often considered as a fuel treatment in the United States. Scientists working with the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station have evaluated more than 40 years of satellite imagery to determine what happens when a fire burns into a previously burned area. Results from this research are helping land managers to assess whether a previous wildland fire will act as a fuel treatment based on the length of time since the previous fire and local conditions such as ecosystem type, topography, and fire weather conditions. By factoring in the ecological benefits of fire, land managers are able to manage fire in a way that fosters more resilient landscapes.

Citation: Cooke, Brian; Parks, Sean; Miller, Carol. 2016. Wildland fire: nature's fuel treatment. Science You Can Use Bulletin, Issue 22. Fort Collins, CO: Rocky Mountain Research Station. 11 p.
Topic(s): Fire Communication & Education, Fuels, Fuel Treatments & Effects, Naturally-ignited Fire-use treatments, Recovery after fire, Resilience
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Research Brief or Fact Sheet
NRFSN number: 14887
Record updated: Sep 8, 2020