Ecological techniques for wildfire mitigation: two distinct fuelbreak approaches and their fusion
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Hai-Hui Wang; Mark A. Finney; Zhi-Long Song; Zhen-Shi Wang; Xiao-Chuan Li
Publication Year: 2021

Cataloging Information

  • China
  • ecological technique
  • fire barrier
  • fire hazard reduction
  • fire mitigation
  • fire risk reduction
  • forest health
  • fuelbreaks
  • green fire barrier
  • shaded fuelbreaks
  • wildfire
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 9, 2021
FRAMES Record Number: 63786


Fuelbreaks are important proactive measures in wildfire prevention and mitigation. Among the most popular ones are the shaded fuelbreaks widely used in western countries and the green fire barriers developed in China forestry sector. While shaded fuelbreaks are considered a main strategy for reducing the distribution of fuel loads in a specific wildland zone, creating green fire barriers involves the dense planting of evergreen broad-leaved trees in a stripped area of flammable plant communities to prevent and block the spread of surface and crown fires. Unlike the shaded fuelbreak technique, the hazard reduction function of a green fire barrier originates from the traits of low-flammability trees and the unique structure formed by the prescribed plantation. Surface fire is mitigated by inhibiting the growth of surface fuels within the strip, whereas crown fire is attenuated and eventually blocked by significantly altering the heat transfer efficiency during an external fire attack. As often demonstrated in practice, the extensive application of this technique in fire-prone areas not only plays a role in mitigating the occurrence of wildfire and its impact on the local environment, but also somehow moderates the local meteorology and wind patterns. These two main fuelbreak approaches are key ecological fire protection techniques that simultaneously achieve prevention and control of accidental forest fires, forest health management and ecological maintenance. As two typical strategic measures, the effective fusion of these approaches can generate multiple economic treatment prescriptions for fire prevention and control at different vegetation scenes subjected to any potential heat sources. The derivatives of these fuelbreak approaches provide systematic tools for constructing both a fire resilient landscape and a green living environment with tolerable fire risk and controllable fire losses.

Online Link(s):
Wang, Hai-Hui; Finney, Mark A.; Song, Zhi-Long; Wang, Zhen-Shi; Li, Xiao-Chuan. 2021. Ecological techniques for wildfire mitigation: two distinct fuelbreak approaches and their fusion. Forest Ecology and Management 495:119376.