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An assessment of fuel treatments on three large 2007 Pacific Northwest fires

Author(s): Steve Harbert, Andrew T. Hudak, Laura Mayer, T. D. Rich, Sarah Robertson
Year Published: 2007

The Monument Fire burned across a landscape with extensive but relatively low intensity fuel treatments that reduced severe fire effects. The area that burned in the Egley Complex included both extensive underburns and intensive, strategically located fuel and other vegetation treatments that improved suppression effectiveness. The GW Fire impacted a fuel treatment located between the fire and a high-value wildland-urban interface area that—with favorable weather and effective suppression effort—successfully stopped the fire’s spread.

On the three fires studied, a higher proportion of acres burned severely on untreated lands than where fuel or other vegetation treatments had been applied (prior to the fires). More recent treatments and higher-intensity treatments reduced fire behavior and fire effects more effectively than older and less intense treatments.

On all three fires, fuel treatments seemed to increase suppression effectiveness. Additionally, when Incident Management Teams had knowledge of treatments, they used these treated areas to plan and implement suppression strategies and tactics. Intensive fuel treatments located along major ridge top road systems were particularly useful in increasing fire suppression effectiveness.

Citation: Harbert S, Hudak A, Mayer L, Rich T., and Robertson S. 2007. An assessment of fuel treatments on three large 2007 Pacific Northwest Fires. Available at https://www.forestsandrangelands.gov/success/stories/2007/documents/pnw-fuel-treatment-effectiveness-assessment-2007.pdf (last accessed 5/2/2018).
Topic(s): Fire Behavior, Extreme Fire Behavior, Case Studies, Fuels, Fuel Treatments & Effects
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 17705
Record updated: Jun 5, 2018