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Project ID: 04-1-2-01

Year: 2004

Date Started: 07/15/2004

Date Completed: 02/15/2008

Title: Rapid Response to the 2003 Fires in Southern California: Impact of Fuel Age on Fire Behavior and Recovery

Project Proposal Abstract: This project takes advantage of the unique opportunities provided by the October 2003 fires in southern California to answer two important questions: What was the relative importance of fuel age vs weather in determining the size of these fires and their catastrophic impact, and what role does fuel age play in determining fire severity and how does fire severity affect postfire recovery. Using spatially explicit analyses in GIS, we will examine the spread characteristics of the six largest fires and quantify the total distribution of age classes consumed in these fires, analyzed on a daily basis to isolate how fuel age, topography and fire weather interacted. Fire spread modeling will be used to evaluate the conditions that lead to abrupt changes in fire behavior using actual ignition points and weather conditions during the 2003 fire events. Actual fire spread patterns will be combined with fire spread models to understand combinations of factors that lead to extreme fire behavior and to address hypotheses about the effectiveness of pre-fire fuel manipulations in urban-wildland interface areas and the broader landscape. Through spatial overlay in GIS, area burned in different age classes will be determined and Weibull function parameters estimated to determine how fire hazard changes with age of fuel. Field studies will be conducted to examine the relationships between fuel age, fire severity and postfire vegetation recovery. We will test the hypothesis that as fuel age increases, fire severity increases and leads to reduced vegetative recovery by increased mortality of seed banks and mortality of resprouters. This information is important for understanding how stand age will affect natural regeneration of shrubland species and the necessity for different post-fire rehabilitation treatments. Combining these data with the spatial analysis we will develop a quantitative model to show how fire severity is affected by the combination of fuel age, composition, weather and topography. These results will reveal to managers the extent to which fuel age can be used to predict fire severity, whether or not fuel age is an important determinant of postfire recovery and provide insight into the potential threat to postfire recovery when fuels are too young at the time of burning.

Principal Investigator: Jon E. Keeley

Agency/Organization: USGS-Geological Survey

Branch or Dept: WERC-Sequoia & Kings Canyon Field Station


Other Project Collaborators

Type

Name

Agency/Organization

Branch or Dept


Project Locations

Consortium

California


There are no project locations identified for this project.

Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
view or print   54 Book Lessons Learned from the Wildfires
view or print   1679 Government Publication Fire Severity and Ecosystem Responses Following Crown Fires in California Shrublands
view or print   3091 Journal Article Journal of Forestry
    1130 Invited Paper/Presentation Fire as an Ecosystem Process: Past, Present and Future
view or print   1141 Invited Paper/Presentation Wildfire Management on a Human Dominated Landscape: California Chaparral Wildfires
    1608 Progress Report  
    1609 Progress Report  
    1610 Conference/Symposia/Workshop  
    1611 Invited Paper/Presentation Impact of Fuel Age on Fire Severity & Vegetative Recovery
    1612 Invited Paper/Presentation Fire Regimes: Controls at Different Scales of Space and Time
    1613 Invited Paper/Presentation Historical and Contemporary Contrasts Between Forest and Chaparral Fires
    2271 Invited Paper/Presentation Fire as an Ecosystem Process: Past, Present and Future
    2272 Invited Paper/Presentation How Do We Define the Success of Fuel Treatments/Management?
    2273 Invited Paper/Presentation Fire as an Ecosystem Process: Past, Present and Future
    2274 Invited Paper/Presentation Fire as an Ecosystem Process: Past, Present and Future
    2100 Invited Paper/Presentation A Critical Assessment of the Burning Index Used in Fighting Wildland Fires
view or print   2101 Invited Paper/Presentation Lessons Learned From the 2003 Wildfires
    2102 Invited Paper/Presentation Southern California Wildfires
view or print   2103 Invited Paper/Presentation Lessons Learned From the 2003 Wildfires
    2104 Invited Paper/Presentation Fire as an Ecosystem Process: Past, Present and Future
view or print   2154 Book or Book Chapter Lessons Learned from the Wildfires
    2155 Book or Book Chapter South Coast Bioregion
view or print   2156 Poster Lessons Learned From the 2003 Wildfires
view or print   6662 Invited Paper/Presentation 2003 Wildfires in Southern California: Impact of Fuel Age on Fire Severity and Vegetation Recovery
    6880 Invited Paper/Presentation Spatial Variation and Age Dependency in Burning Patterns of California Shrublands
view or print   6081 Invited Paper/Presentation Considerations of the Costs and Benefits of Postfire Seeding

Supporting Documents

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