Effect of thinning and prescribed burning on wildfire severity in ponderosa pine forests
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): Jolie Pollet; Philip N. Omi
Editor(s): Leon F. Neuenschwander; Kevin C. Ryan; Greg E. Gollberg
Publication Year: 2000

Cataloging Information

  • Arizona
  • bark
  • catastrophic fires
  • coniferous forests
  • crown fires
  • diameter classes
  • fire exclusion
  • fire hazard reduction
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire size
  • fire suppression
  • forest management
  • fuel arrangement
  • habitat conversion
  • Idaho
  • JFSP - Joint Fire Science Program
  • ladder fuels
  • light
  • live fuels
  • logging
  • Montana
  • national forests
  • needles
  • pine forests
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • plantations
  • population density
  • regeneration
  • scorch
  • site treatments
  • slash
  • sloping terrain
  • stand characteristics
  • statistical analysis
  • suppression
  • surface fires
  • thinning
  • threatened and endangered species
  • topography
  • trees
  • Washington
  • watersheds
  • wildfires
  • wind
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: October 21, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 44205
Tall Timbers Record Number: 19529
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


From the Management Implications (p.139-140)... 'Our findings indicate that fuel treatments do mitigate fire severity. Treatments provide a window of opportunity for effective fire suppression and protecting high-value areas. Although topography and weather may play a more important role than fuels in governing fire behavior (Bessie and Johnson 1995), topography and weather cannot be realistically manipulated to reduce fire severity. Fuels are the leg of the fire environment triangle (Countryman 1972) that land managers can change to achieve desired post-fire condition. However, in extreme weather conditions, such as drought and high winds, fuel treatments may do little to mitigate fire spread or severity. There are at least three ways to reduce tree densities and accomplish fuel treatment: wildfire, prescribed fire and mechanical thinning. The first, reliance on wild-fires, is impractical. Letting natural fires play their historical role may have unwanted effects in forests that have undergone major stand structural changes over the past years of fire exclusion. In many ponderosa pine forests choked with dense, small-diameter trees, or encroached by shade-tolerant trees, natural fires may no longer play a strategic role.... Fuel treatment programs may be costly and time-consuming. But wildfire problems aren*t going away soon. We suggest focusing programs, funding and management attention where the risk resulting from severe wildfire is greatest: urban-interface, tree plantations, critical watersheds and habitat for threatened and endangered species. Treating high-volume areas using mechanized equipment could offset costs associated with fuel removal on steep slopes with little timber. Costs associated with wildfire suppression, in terms of funding suppression efforts and personal safety, far outweigh the costs of fuel treatment on similar landscapes.' © University of Idaho 2000. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Pollet, J., and P. N. Omi. 2000. Effect of thinning and prescribed burning on wildfire severity in ponderosa pine forests. Pages 137-141 in Neuenschwander, L. F., Ryan, K. C., and Gollberg, G. E., Joint Fire Science Conference and Workshop Proceedings: 'Crossing the Millennium: Integrating Spatial Technologies and Ecological Principles for a New Age in Fire Management'. Boise, Idaho. University of Idaho and the International Association of Wildland Fire,Moscow, ID and Fairfield, WA. Vol. II.