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Wildland fire limits subsequent fire occurrence

Posted date: December 16, 2015
Publication Year: 
2016
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire. 25: 182-190.

Abstract

Several aspects of wildland fire are moderated by site- and landscape-level vegetation changes caused by previous fire, thereby creating a dynamic where one fire exerts a regulatory control on subsequent fire. For example, wildland fire has been shown to regulate the size and severity of subsequent fire. However, wildland fire has the potential to influence other properties of subsequent fire. One of those properties - the extent to which a previous wildland fire inhibits new fires from igniting and spreading within its perimeter - is the focus of our study. In four large wilderness study areas in the western United States (US), we evaluated whether or not wildland fire regulated the ignition and spread (hereafter occurrence) of subsequent fire. Results clearly indicate that wildland fire indeed regulates subsequent occurrence of fires greater than/equal to 20 ha in all study areas. We also evaluated the longevity of the regulating effect and found that wildland fire limits subsequent fire occurrence for nine years in the warm/dry study area in the south-western US and over 20 years in the cooler/wetter study areas in the northern Rocky Mountains. Our findings expand upon our understanding of the regulating capacity of wildland fire and the importance of wildland fire in creating and maintaining resilience to future fire events.

Citation

Parks, Sean A.; Miller, Carol; Holsinger, Lisa M.; Baggett, L. Scott; Bird, Benjamin J. 2016. Wildland fire limits subsequent fire occurrence. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 25: 182-190.