Characterizing wildfire risk to a fire-adapted ecosystem presents particular challenges due to its broad spatial extent, inherent complexity, and the difficulty in defining wildfire-induced losses and benefits. Our approach couples stochastic wildfire simulation with a vegetation condition assessment framework to estimate the conditional and expected response of vegetation condition to wildfire. We illustrate application of this framework for the Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) in western Wyoming, USA. Results illustrate generally positive net effects of wildfire on vegetation condition across the major forested biophysical settings on the Forest, supporting the notion that wildfire can play a role in restoring or enhancing the ecological integrity of landscapes affected by fire exclusion. These results carry significant implications for future management of wildfire on the BTNF, and highlight temporal relationships between short-term incident response and long-term ecological integrity.
Scott, J. H.; Helmbrecht, D. J.; Thompson, M. P. 2014. Assessing the expected effects of wildfire on vegetation condition on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming, USA. Res. Note: RMRS-RN-71. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 36 p.