The importance of small fire refugia in the central Sierra Nevada, California, USA
The authors characterized the spatial distribution and size of unburned patches with the Rim fire and examined the relationships between environmental variables and unburned patches to predict the occurrence of small refugia.
Small fire refugia occurred on all landscape positions and within areas burned at all burn severity classes. Individual patches were not significantly related to burn severity, and the authors suggest that refugia may arise within high or low severity burned areas due to different reasons, such as fuel continuity or changes in weather conditions during the fire. However, the authors did find that the amount and distance between refugia decreased with increasing burn severity.
They also found that small fire refugia was more likely 11 to 30-m from a stream, and areas with low pre-fire basal area, but the authors suggest that data limitations reduced the predictive power of environmental variables on refugia.