Category: General Publications
Title: Stand- and landscape-level effects of prescribed burning on two Arizona wildfires
Author: Finney, M.A. , McHugh, C. , Grenfell, I.C.
Subject: Prescribed burns, Fire behavior, Spatial Dynamics
Abstract: Performance of fuel treatments in modifying behavior and effects of the largest wildfires has rarely been evaluated, because the necessary data on fire movement, treatment characteristics, and fire severity were not obtainable together. Here we analyzed satellite imagery and prescribed fire records from two Arizona wildfires that occurred in 2002, finding that prescribed fire treatments reduced wildfire severity and changed its progress. Prescribed burning in ponderosa pine forests 19 years before the Rodeo and Chediski fires reduced fire severity compared with untreated areas, despite the unprecedented 1860-km2 combined wildfire sizes and record drought. Fire severity increased with time since treatment but decreased with unit size and number of repeated prescribed burn treatments. Fire progression captured by Landsat 7 enhanced thematic mapper plus (ETM+) clearly showed the fire circumventing treatment units and protecting areas on their lee side. This evidence is consistent with model predictions that suggest wildland fire size and severity can be mitigated by strategic placement of treatments.
Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research
Publisher: NRC Canada