Large wildfires (>50,000 ha) are becoming increasingly common in semiarid landscapes of the western United States. Although fuel reduction treatments are used to mitigate potential wildfire effects, they can be overwhelmed in wind-driven wildfire events with extreme fire behavior.
Wildland fires have a multitude of ecological effects in forests, woodlands, and savannas across the globe. A major focus of past research has been on tree mortality from fire, as trees provide a vast range of biological services.
Wildland fire is an important disturbance agent in forests of the American Northwest. Historical fire suppression efforts have contributed to an accumulation of fuels in many Northwestern forests and may result in more frequent and/or more severe wildfire events.
Piling and burning is widely used to dispose of unmerchantable debris resulting from thinning in forests throughout the western United States. Quite often more piles are created than are burned in a given year, however, causing piles to persist, accumulate, and age on the landscape.