Fire, fuels, and restoration of ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir forests in the Rocky Mountains

W. L. Baker
T. T. Veblen
R. L. Sherriff


Forest restoration in ponderosa pine and mixed ponderosa pine–Douglas fir forests in the US Rocky Mountains has been highly influenced by a historical model of frequent, low-severity surface fires developed for the ponderosa pine forests of the Southwestern USA. A restoration model, based on this low-severity fire model, focuses on thinning and prescribed burning to restore historical forest structure. However, in the US Rocky Mountains, research on fire history and forest structure, and early historical reports, suggest the low-severity model may only apply in limited geographical areas. The aim of this article is to elaborate a new variable-severity fire model and evaluate the applicability of this model, along with the low-severity model, for the ponderosa pine–Douglas fir forests of the Rocky Mountains.