Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fuel treatments reduce wildfire severity, tree mortality in Washington forests

Date:
September 24, 2010
Source:
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary:
Scientists have found that fuel treatments -- even of only a few acres -- can reduce fire severity and protect older trees desirable for their timber, wildlife, and carbon-storage value.

A study conducted by U.S. Forest Service and University of Washington (UW) scientists has found that fuel treatments -- even of only a few acres -- can reduce fire severity and protect older trees desirable for their timber, wildlife, and carbon-storage value. The finding is part of a three-year study of the 175,000-acre Tripod Fire and is published in the August issue of Canadian Journal of Forest Research.

Related Articles


"This study provides the most definitive evidence yet of the effectiveness of fuel treatments in dry forests of the Pacific Northwest," said Susan Prichard, a UW research scientist and senior author of the study. "If dense forests are thinned and the surface fuels are removed, then ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir trees have a better chance of surviving an intense wildfire."

Prichard and her Forest Service colleagues quantified tree mortality on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in an area affected by the 2006 Tripod Fire, which burned through forested areas managed to reduce potential fire hazard. Because of the management history of the area, the researchers were able to compare untreated stands, stands that were thinned, and stands that were thinned and then underwent prescribed burns to remove surface fuels.

Results of the comparison revealed that the Tripod Complex fires killed over 80% of trees in stands without treatment and in stands with thinning only. Nearly 60% of trees survived in stands with thinning plus fuel treatment, and three-quarters of larger trees -- those with diameters larger than 8 inches -- survived.

"It's all about fuels -- dead fuels on the ground add energy to wildfire and carry it across the landscape and dense stands of live trees and shrubs act as fuel ladders, moving fire into the canopy," said Dave Peterson, a research biologist with the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station who coauthored the study. "The objective of fuel treatments is not to eliminate wildfires, but to reduce their intensity in areas where we want to protect resources."

If, as expected, a warmer climate causes an increase in wildfire in future decades, conducting fuel treatments in forest ecosystems will be an important tool for reducing damage from fire and increasing resilience to climate change.

"If we implement treatments across large areas and place them strategically, we can manage these low-elevation forests sustainably, even in a warmer climate," Peterson said.


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.


Journal Reference:

  1. Susan J. Prichard, David L. Peterson, and Kyle Jacobson. Fuel treatments reduce the severity of wildfire effects in dry mixed conifer forest, Washington, USA. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 2010; DOI: 10.1139/X10-109

Cite This Page:

USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. "Fuel treatments reduce wildfire severity, tree mortality in Washington forests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100825174118.htm>.
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. (2010, September 24). Fuel treatments reduce wildfire severity, tree mortality in Washington forests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100825174118.htm
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. "Fuel treatments reduce wildfire severity, tree mortality in Washington forests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100825174118.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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