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Individual Highlight

National Study Evaluates Fuel Treatments in Reducing Risk of Fire

Fuel is masticated prior to a prescribed burn on a study plot in the Pringle Falls Experimental Forest. Rhonda Mazza, Forest ServiceSnapshot : Mechanical treatments do not serve as surrogates for fire treatments

Principal Investigators(s) :
Youngblood, Andy 
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2012
Highlight ID : 79


The National Fire and Fire Surrogate study was designed to evaluate how alternative fuel reduction treatments influence a multitude of ecological effects in seasonally dry forests.A new report summarizes results from 206 technical articles stemming from the 12 sites of this national study.

Some general conclusions can be drawn from the report. For example, for most sites, the treatments modified stand structures and fuels to the point where post-treatment stands are expected to be much more resistant to moderate wildfire. Although ecological effects tend to dampen with time, fire risk appears to increase due to treatment-induced collapse of burned portions of stands.

Mechanical treatments do not serve as surrogates for fire for most ecosystem components, suggesting that fire could be introduced and maintained as a process in these systems whenever possible. The critical components of these ecosystems are strongly linked, indicating that fuel reduction work may be most effective when designed with the entire ecosystem in mind.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Oregon State University

Program Areas