Surface Fuel Dynamics after California Wildfires

Bianca Eskelson - California Fire

Author(s): Bianca Eskelson & Vicente Monleon
Published in: International Journal of Wildland Fire, CSIRO Publishing (February, 2018)
URL: doi.org/10.1071/WF17148

Post-fire surface fuel dynamics in California forests across three burn severity classes and two forest types

Taking advantage of repeated post-fire measurements on 191 national forests inventory plots in 49 wildfires, we estimated surface fuel dynamics across three fire severity classes in dry conifer and hardwood stands in California, USA. Depending on the fuel type—large wood, fine wood, duff or litter—post-fire surface fuel dynamics differ substantially among fire severity classes—low, moderate, and high—as well as between forest types. The data used are a multiple-year sample across the entire state of California, which therefore covers the variability in forest wildfire characteristics and forest stands in the state in roughly the proportion in which they occur. The wildfire and forest stand conditions represented in this sample are representative of what occurs on the landscape. Thus, our estimated trends can be generalized to all wildfires in the region that burned with low, moderate, or high severity in hardwood or dry conifer stands. This ability sets our study apart from previous studies that tend to focus on high severity fires in a single forest type.

For further information, contact Dr. Bianca Eskelson at bianca.eskelson@ubc.ca. Funding for this research was provided by the US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station.

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