Webinar: The ability of wildfire to act as a fuel treatment

Event Type: 
Other Webinar
Date and Time: 
Jan 21, 2015 (All day)

Time: 12 pm Mountain / 11am Pacific

Hosts: Northern Rockies Fire Science Network and Southwest Fire Science Consortium

Presenter: Sean Parks, Landscape Ecologist, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute

Description: This webinar will highlight results from a study investigating the ability of wildfire to act as a fuel treatment. The study evaluated whether or not wildfires limited the occurrence, size, and severity of subsequent wildfires in four large wilderness complexes in Idaho, Montana, and New Mexico. The study focused on protected areas to minimize anthropogenic factors (e.g., roads and fuel treatments) that may affect fire behavior and effects. 

Study findings suggested that:

  • Wildfires reduce the probability that subsequent fires will ignite and spread.
  • Wildfires reduce the size of subsequent fires by acting as fuel breaks.
  • Subsequent fire severity is significantly lower in areas that have recently burned than in areas that have not.

The strength and longevity of the moderating effect of wildfires on subsequent fires varied by study area, suggesting that ecosystem-level processes controlling fire regime characteristics and regrowth of vegetation are responsible for these differences.