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The use of shaded fuelbreaks in landscape fire management

Posted date: August 03, 2010
Publication Year: 
Authors: Agee, James K.; Bahro, Bernie; Finney, Mark A.; Omi, Philip N.; Sapsis, David B.; Skinner, Carl N.; van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Weatherspoon, C. Phillip
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Forest Ecology and Management 127: 55-66


Shaded fuelbreaks and larger landscape fuel treatments, such as prescribed fire, are receiving renewed interest as forest protection strategies in the western United States. The effectiveness of fuelbreaks remains a subject of debate because of differing fuelbreak objectives, prescriptions for creation and maintenance, and their placement in landscapes with differing fire regimes. A well-designed fuelbreak will alter the behavior of wildland fire entering the fuel-altered zone. Both surface and crown fire behavior may be reduced. Shaded fuelbreaks must be created in the context of the landscape within which they are placed. No absolute standards for fuelbreak width or fuel reduction are possible, although recent proposals for forested fuelbreaks suggest 400 m wide bands where surface fuels are reduced and crown fuels are thinned. Landscape-level treatments such as prescribed fire can use shaded fuelbreaks as anchor points, and extend the zone of altered fire behavior to larger proportions of the landscape. Coupling fuelbreaks with area-wide fuel treatments can reduce the size, intensity, and effects of wildland fires.


Agee, James K.; Bahro, Bernie; Finney, Mark A.; Omi, Philip N.; Sapsis, David B.; Skinner, Carl N.; van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Weatherspoon, C. Phillip 2000. The use of shaded fuelbreaks in landscape fire management. Forest Ecology and Management 127: 55-66