Title: Reintroducing fire into the Blacks Mountain Research Natural Area: effects on fire hazard
Author: Skinner, Carl N.
Source: In: Ritchie, Martin W.; Maguire, Douglas A.; Youngblood, Andrew, tech. coordinators. Proceedings of the Symposium on Ponderosa Pine: Issues, Trends, and Management, 2004 October 18-21, Klamath Falls, OR. Gen. Tech. Rep PSW-GTR-198. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: 245-257
Description: Frequent, low-intensity, surface fires were an integral ecological process in the Blacks Mountain Experimental Forest (BMEF) prior to the 20th Century. With rare exception, fires have been successfully excluded from BMEF since the early 1900s. The Blacks Mountain Research Natural Area (BMRNA) covers approximately 521 acres of BMEF in 5 compartments of approximately 100 acres each. With the help of the Lassen National Forest, we have begun to reintroduce fire to BMRNA using prescribed fire. Two compartments have been burned – one in fall of 1997, the other in fall of 2000. Stand conditions and responses are being compared to two compartments where fire has continued to be excluded. The fifth compartment – mostly meadow – is not being studied at this time. Although fire hazard reduction was not a primary goal of this project, the usefulness of prescribed fire treatments for fire behavior modification is of interest to many. This paper compares the ability of the prescribed fire to alter wildfire behavior through computer simulation of expected wildfire behavior and effects for treated and untreated stands. Though the application of prescribed fire initially reduced expected fire behavior, expected fire behavior was again quite high within a few years (~ 4-6 yrs). This is due to ensuing accumulation of dead fuel from the many small trees killed in the initial burns and the inability of prescribed fire to sufficiently thin the stands for a more lasting effect. We estimate it may take up to three applications of prescribed fire to achieve a level of fire behavior modification that is similar to a single application of mechanical treatment followed by a single prescribed fire.
Keywords: Cascade Range, fire effects, ponderosa pine, prescribed fire, research natural areas, white fir
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Skinner, Carl N. 2005. Reintroducing fire into the Blacks Mountain Research Natural Area: effects on fire hazard. In: Ritchie, Martin W.; Maguire, Douglas A.; Youngblood, Andrew, tech. coordinators. Proceedings of the Symposium on Ponderosa Pine: Issues, Trends, and Management, 2004 October 18-21, Klamath Falls, OR. Gen. Tech. Rep PSW-GTR-198. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: 245-257
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