Fuel Treatments and Fire Regimes : Final Report

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The size and severity of recent fire episodes are widely attributed to altered fuel profiles as a result of fire exclusion and fire regime disruption in many ecosystems. Current national fuels management initiatives propose widespread application of prescribed fire and other treatments both to reduce the potential of catastrophic wildfire and to restore the structure and function of altered ecosystems. However, the chain of hypotheses that link historic fire regimes to appropriate fuel treatment application has not received a systematic assessment. This project seeks to provide such an assessment with a series of quantitative literature syntheses that focus on the following questions: 1) Are the effects of 20th Century fire exclusion on fire frequency related to historic fire regimes? 2) Are 20th century changes in fuel conditions and fire hazard most apparent in ecosystems where fire was historically most frequent? 3) Is there a relationship between historic fire regimes and fuel treatment efficacy? 4) Can geographic variables be used as predictors of historic fire regimes to facilitate their incorporation into fuel management planning?


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