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Project ID: 12-1-03-25

Year: 2013

Date Started: 12/01/2012

Ending Date:  01/10/2015

Title: Long-Term Effects of Prescribed Fire on Forest Fuels Across the Western United States

Project Proposal Abstract: Using long-term records from over 470 separate plots, we propose to broadly test the idea that prescribed fire can lead to long-term reductions in surface fuels and fire risks in coniferous forests of the western United States (US). Prescribed fire is a widely used fuels management tool, yet the effectiveness of these treatments has not been assessed over large spatial and temporal scales. We will consider this question at a subcontinental scale by synthesizing existing information from a large plot-based prescribed fire monitoring database spanning the western US. These data feature standard surface fuels measurements and tree inventories conducted pre-fire, immediately post-fire and 1-, 2-, 5-, 10- and 15-years post-fire. We will use these data to understand the variability of fuels reduction treatments and long-term fuels accumulation patterns both within and among major forest types. A limited number of these sites (184 plots) have also been re-burned with continued fuels monitoring, which we will use to quantify the effects of repeated burning on surface fuels and fire behavior. We will determine the effectiveness of prescribed fire in terms of modeled fire behavior, parameterized using observed patterns of fuels dynamics. Because of the large scope and depth of our data, the results of this project will be of great interest to a wide audience of managers, policy makers and the scientific community.

Principal Investigator: Phillip J. van Mantgem

Agency/Organization: USGS-Geological Survey

Branch or Dept: WERC-Redwood Field Station

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Cindy C. Lu

USGS-Geological Survey

WERC-Western Ecological Research Center HQ

Budget Contact

Cindy C. Lu

USGS-Geological Survey

WERC-Western Ecological Research Center HQ

Co-Principal Investigator

MaryBeth J. Keifer

NPS-National Park Service

Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Co-Principal Investigator

Jonathan C. Nesmith

University of California-Berkeley

Department of Environmental Sciences-Policy & Management

Project Locations







Interior West



Pacific Coast States


Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

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