Wilderness shapes contemporary fire size distributions across landscapes of the western United States
The authors modeled the effects of wilderness on the fire size distribution along forest gradients, while accounting for the effects of topography, weather, and climate.
The authors found that in the Southwest, the effects of natural burning within wilderness areas promotes heterogeneity of burn mosaics and limits the size and spread of subsequent fires. They did not find this same pattern in the Sierra Nevadas or Northern Rockies. In the Northern Rockies, they found that winter and fire season precipitation was the most important factor in limiting fire size and occurrence.