Quantifying the effect of fuel reduction treatments on fire behavior in boreal forests
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Bret W. Butler; Roger D. Ottmar; T. Scott Rupp; Randi R. Jandt; Eric Miller; Kato Howard; Robert Schmoll; Skip Theisen; Robert E. Vihnanek; Daniel M. Jimenez
Publication Year: 2013

Cataloging Information

  • boreal forests
  • coniferous forests
  • fire hazard reduction
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • flame length
  • forest management
  • fuel loading
  • fuel management
  • fuel moisture
  • rate of spread
  • site treatments
  • thinning
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: December 16, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 51504
Tall Timbers Record Number: 28389
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals - C
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.


Mechanical (e.g., shearblading) and manual (e.g., thinning) fuel treatments have become the preferred strategy of many fire managers and agencies for reducing fire hazard in boreal forests. This study attempts to characterize the effectiveness of four fuel treatments through direct measurement of fire intensity and forest floor consumption during a single prescribed burn. The treatments included (1) thinning trees and removing debris (THIN-REMOVE-1 and -2), (2) thinning trees and burning the debris onsite, (3) shearblading and leaving the debris in place (SHEAR), and (4) shearblading and piling the debris in windrows (SHEAR-ROW). Fire burned through treatments 1, 3, and 4 and one control unit. The highest fire intensities (maximum temperature of 1150ºC, maximum heat flux of 227 kW·m-2, and fire cumulative energy release of 4277 J·m-2) were measured in the control. Treatment 1 exhibited a peak temperature of 267ºC, peak heating of 16 kW·m-2, and cumulative energy release of 2600 J·m-2. Treatments 3 and 4 exhibited peak temperatures of 170 and 66ºC, peak heating of 51 and 3 kW·m-2, and cumulative energy release of 2500 and 1800 J·m-2, respectively. The thinned treatment showed the most significant impact in the context of reduced heat release. © 2013 Canadian Science Publishing or its licensors. Published by NRC Research Press.

Butler, B. W. et al. 2013. Quantifying the effect of fuel reduction treatments on fire behavior in boreal forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, v. 43, no. 1, p. 97-102. 10.1139/cjfr-2012-0234.