The National Fire Plan

Bucktail Fire

                                             Colorado 2002                                            

The Bucktail fire in Colorado is a good example of how thinning, followed by prescribed fire can reduce the severity of subsequent wildfires.  The fire that occurred on May 20 of this year burned through a forested area consisting mostly of ponderosa pine.  The fire burned through untreated forested areas consisting of oak and unnaturally dense ponderosa pine.  The following pictures show how the dense fuels allowed the fire to burn at a high intensity destroying everything in its path. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fire also burned through an area previously treated by thinning followed by prescribed fire.  As shown in the pictures below, when the fire moved through the treated area it burned at a low intensity.  Reducing the buildup of hazardous fuels has made this ponderosa pine forest healthier and increased its ability to survive wildfire and insect attacks.