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Project ID: 03-3-2-04

Year: 2003

Date Started: 07/29/2003

Date Completed: 10/04/2007

Title: Prescribed Burning to Protect Large Diameter Pine Trees From Wildfire - Can We Do It Without Killing the Trees We Are Trying to Save?

Project Proposal Abstract: There is growing concern from the National Park Service and the US Forest Service in northern California that prescribed burning to reduce fuel in areas with large diameter and old-growth trees is causing increased mortality of these high-value trees. A probable cause is the extended burning of large duff accumulations resulting from 100 years of fire suppression. Burning when duff moistures are low can lead to root mortality and basal girdling from the duff mounds smoldering. Even with mechanical thinning to reduce ladder fuels and the probability of crown damage, the problem of deep duff mounds and below-ground damage still exists. In order for managers to create successful prescribed bum programs that reduce fuel and restore areas to near historical conditions, information is needed on duff and litter depth, their impacts when burned on tree survivability, and methods for their manipulation that are effective, quick, and inexpensive. This study addresses task 2 of the RFP by implementing an administrative study to meet the local land management need of knowing how to best prescribe burn in areas of large-diameter and old-growth trees to reduce fuels without killing desirable trees. The study will 1) evaluate the economic feasibility and biologic effectiveness of removing duff mounds away from trees to reduce large tree mortality and 2) develop prescribed fire guidelines to reduce damage to large- diameter ponderosa and Jeffery pine in areas of deep duff. By removing duff, managers could potentially burn under a wider range of weather conditions and different seasons, leading to more acres treated with less large-diameter tree mortality and fewer bark beetle attacks. This effort will give prescribed fire managers and line officers better criteria when making prescribed burn decisions for areas containing large diameter trees.

Principal Investigator: Sharon M. Hood

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: RMRS-Fire Sciences Lab-Missoula

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Mike Lewelling

NPS-National Park Service

Rocky Mountain National Park

Co-Principal Investigator

Kevin C. Ryan

Forest Service

RMRS-Fire Sciences Lab-Missoula

Federal Cooperator

Sharon M. Hood

Forest Service

RMRS-Fire Sciences Lab-Missoula

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network


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   2965 Journal Article Estimating Fuel Bed Loadings in Masticated Areas
  go to website 748 Website  
view or print   749 Invited Paper/Presentation Estimating Fuel Bed Loadings in Masticated Areas
view or print   750 Invited Paper/Presentation Forest Floor Consumption and Tree Injury After Prescribed Burning Old-Growth Pine Sites in California
view or print   751 Poster Prescribed Burning to Protect Large Diameter Pine Trees From Wildfire-Can we do it Without Killing the Trees We’re Trying to Save?

Supporting Documents

The following supporting documents are available for this project.

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