Fuels Treatment Demonstration Sites in the Boreal Forests of Interior Alaska
Principal Investigator(s):
Completion Date: August 8, 2005

Cataloging Information

  • boreal forests
  • demonstration sites
  • fuel treatments
  • Tanana River watershed
JFSP Project Number(s):
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: April 11, 2016
FRAMES Record Number: 7863


Wildland fire is the dominant disturbance agent of the boreal forest of Alaska, which covers about 114 million ac. of the southcentral and interior regions. Currently, about 80% of the population of Alaska resides in communities potentially at risk from wildland fire. The wildland fire threat to these settlements is increasing, because more of the population is living in dispersed or suburban settlements in or near forested areas. Dispersed and isolated settlements are more difficult and costly to protect, so it is expected that in the future more infrastructure will be damaged by wildland fire and the cost of fire protection to infrastructure will increase. Fire fighting agencies in interior and southcentral Alaska have begun to implement fuels reduction programs, such as installation of firebreaks and shaded fuelbreaks around settlements. However, the effectiveness of these programs has not been monitored anywhere in the state, so comparison of various fuels reduction techniques is not possible. The objective of this project is to develop the first fuels treatment demonstration sites--in the form of shaded fuelbreaks-- in the boreal forests of interior Alaska. The sites will allow for the comparison of the effectiveness, environmental effects, and cost of four different fuels treatments in high density white spruce (Picea glauca) stands located on floodplains. The treatments were chosen because they represent the fuels treatment options most likely to be employed by the majority of people in interior Alaska when creating shaded fuelbreaks. The measured variables will be used to determine natural fuel loading, to model fire behavior before and after the various fuels treatments, and to determination the ecological effects of the fuels treatments.