Testing a basic assumption of shrubland fire management: Does the hazard of burning increase with the age of fuels?
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
- Max A. Moritz , Jon E. Keeley , Edward A. Johnson , and Andrew A. Schaffner
This year's catastrophic wildfires in southern California highlight the need for effective planning and management for fire-prone landscapes. Fire frequency analysis of several hundred wildfires over a broad expanse of California shrublands reveals that there is generally not, as is commonly assumed, a strong relationship between fuel age and fire probabilities. Instead, the hazard of burning in most locations increases only moderately with time since the last fire, and a marked age effect of fuels is observed only in limited areas. Results indicate a serious need for a re-evaluation of current fire management and policy, which is based largely on eliminating older stands of shrubland vegetation. In many shrubland ecosystems exposed to extreme fire weather, large and intense wildfires may need to be factored in as inevitable events.
Additional publication details
- Publication type:
- Publication Subtype:
- Journal Article
- Testing a basic assumption of shrubland fire management: Does the hazard of burning increase with the age of fuels?
- Series title:
- Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
- Year Published:
- Ecological Society of America
- Contributing office(s):
- Western Ecological Research Center
- 6 p.
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