Pre-wildfire fuel reduction treatments result in more resilient forest structure a decade after wildfire
The authors compared treated and untreated areas nine years after the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire to assess how stand structure and surface fuels change over longer periods of time. They further compared this information to a previous study (Strom and Fulé, 2007) that installed the study plots in 2004 to assess the differences between short- and longer-term fuel responses.
In the Rodeo-Chediski Fire, pre-fire treatments resulted in reduced fire severity. Although fuel loads were high at both areas, pre-fire treated areas had lower levels of surface fuel loads than untreated sites with the difference between the two becoming greater over time. In treated areas mean live basal area increased over the past decade as regeneration occurred in the open spaces left by fire-killed trees. Conversely, basal area in untreated areas has decreased due to residual tree death and limited regeneration.