Short- and long-term effects on fuels, forest structure, and wildfire potential from prescribed fire and resource benefit fire in southwestern forests, USA
The authors examined the effects of recent prescribed and resource benefit fires on the fuel loads, structure, and potential fire behavior in ponderosa pine and pinyon-juniper woodlands. Additionally, they studied the effects of repeated resource benefit fire on those same ecosystems.
The authors found that in ponderosa pine forests, low- and moderate- severity resource benefit fires more effectively reduced basal area and crown fire potential more so than prescribed fires. Areas burned multiple times for resource benefit maintained stand structure and fuel loads more consistent with historical forest conditions. Low severity fire in pinyon-juniper woodlands did not have an effect on forest structure and fuels, however, moderate severity fire did have beneficial effects on these ecosystems.