Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biscuit Fire Tests Effectiveness Of Forest Thinning And Prescribed Burning Practices

Date:
March 15, 2006
Source:
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary:
Fuel reduction treatments should simultaneously take place in the overstory, understory, and on the ground to adequately reduce fire severity.

A recently published study in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research indicates that fuel reduction treatments should simultaneously take place in the overstory, understory, and on the ground to adequately reduce fire severity. Thinning trees without treating surface fuels does not reduce mortality adequately because mortality can occur from hot fires on the ground, as well as fires that burn through the tree crowns.

The 2002 Biscuit Fire in southwestern Oregon impacted forest resources, threatened lives, and costs millions of dollars to suppress. It also provided a rare opportunity to study previous fuel treatments (thinning of forest stands and underburning of surface fuels) to see which projects actually reduced tree damage when the Biscuit Fire burned through.

The research team measured the effects of fuel treatments in a Douglas-fir--tanoak forest. Scientists were fortunate to have data collected before the Biscuit Fire with which to directly quantify the relationship between forest structure and fire severity. The effectiveness of two fuel treatments at reducing tree damage and mortality was measured by comparing treated and untreated forests that burned in the fire.

"The number of trees killed in the Biscuit Fire was highest in the thinned areas we studied, most likely due to slash left after the thinning treatment," Raymond explains. "Overstory tree mortality was lowest in sites that were thinned and then underburned, and moderate in sites that were not treated prior to the Biscuit Fire. Thinning ladder fuels is just the first step in effective fuel treatment for most forests." Ladder fuels are the small trees that carry fire from the ground to the overstory tree crowns.

Fuel treatments intended to minimize damage to the overstory are more effective if fine fuels on the ground are reduced following removal of understory trees. "We have known this in principle for many years," says Peterson, a research biologist at the Station, "and the Biscuit Fire gave us a chance to validate the effectiveness of on-the-ground fuel treatments."

Federal agencies are mandated to reduce fuel accumulations in dry forests throughout the West. However, studies like the one conducted by Raymond and Peterson that validate the effectiveness of fuel treatments are rare. "Data from the Biscuit Fire provide new scientific evidence that will help improve techniques for treating fuels. As more wildfires burn through treated areas, we will have additional opportunities to document how well those treatments are working," adds Peterson.

The study, "Fuel Treatments Alter the Effects of Wildfire in a Mixed-Evergreen Forest, Oregon, USA," is co-authored by Crystal Raymond, University of Washington and David L. Peterson, Pacific Northwest Research Station/USDA Forest Service.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. "Biscuit Fire Tests Effectiveness Of Forest Thinning And Prescribed Burning Practices." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060312211341.htm>.
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. (2006, March 15). Biscuit Fire Tests Effectiveness Of Forest Thinning And Prescribed Burning Practices. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060312211341.htm
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. "Biscuit Fire Tests Effectiveness Of Forest Thinning And Prescribed Burning Practices." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060312211341.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 15, 2014) Pennsylvania-based Schramm is incorporating modern technology in its next generation oil-drigging rigs, making them smaller, safer and smarter. Ernest Scheyder reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins