Prescribed Fire & Fuel Treatment Effectiveness & Effects Monitoring Program
Since the Fall of 2000, the Pacific Southwest Region Fire and Aviation Management has conducted
systematic monitoring of fire effects and effectiveness of fuel treatments across the region.
Forty-three projects on every national forest in California have been monitored as of Fall, 2004.
This includes a variety of prescribed fire and mechanical fuel treatment projects in chaparral,
forested, and mixed shrub/forested ecosystems.
The objectives of the monitoring include:   collecting baseline information on fuels, wildlife
habitat, and vegetation composition and structure before treatments, gathering and assessing changes
in fuels, wildlife habitat and vegetation after treatment, and development of a cost-effective
approach to address common questions on effectiveness of fuel treatments, appropriate fuel models
for post-treatment conditions, and improved tree mortality projections. Emphasis was placed on
interagency coordination by using similar methodology as the National Park Service, which has a long
history of monitoring in California.
To date 179 plots have been collected pre-treatment, 51 plots first year post-treatment, and 25
plots second year post treatment. Analysis is currently underway on data collected this summer and
will greatly expand the ability to compare pre- and post-treatments. A report on the latest findings
is expected next spring.
Figures 1-3 represent a succession of pre-treatment, treatment, and post-treatment photos for the same mixed
conifer forest project in Northern California. Fuels were masticated before the prescribed fire treatment.
Figure 1. pre-treatment masticated fuels in a mixed-conifer forest type
Figure 2. prescribed fire burning in masticated fuels for a mixed-conifer forest type
Figure 3. post-fire effects 3.5 months after a prescribed burn
Figures 4-5 represent pre- and post-treatment chaparral in Southern California.
Figure 4. pre-treatment chaparral plot.
Figure 5. post-treatment chaparral plot.