Skip to Main Content
Historical and current forest landscapes in eastern Oregon and Washington Part II: Linking vegetation characteristics to potential fire behavior and related smoke production.Author(s): Mark H. Huff; Roger D. Ottmar; Ernesto Alvarado; Robert E. Vihnanek; John F. Lehmkuhl; Paul F. Hessburg; Richard L. Everett
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-355. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 43 p. (Everett, Richard L., team leader; Eastside forest ecosystem health assessment; Hessburg, Paul F., science team leader and tech. ed., Volume III: assessment.)
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
View PDF (5.0 MB)
DescriptionWe compared the potential fire behavior and smoke production of historical and current time periods based on vegetative conditions in forty-nine 5100- to 13 5OO-hectare watersheds in six river basins in eastern Oregon and Washington. Vegetation composition, structure, and patterns were attributed and mapped from aerial photographs taken from 1932 to 1959 (historical) and from 1981 to 1992 (current). Vegetation with homogeneous composition and structure were delineated as patches. Each patch was assigned a potential rate of spread, flame length, fuel loading, and smoke production from published information that matched the closest characteristics of the vegetation and downed fuels and assigned a uniform fuel moisture, wind speed, and slope. Potential rate of spread of fire, flame length, and smoke production were highly variable among sample watersheds in any given river basin. In general, rate of spread and flame length were positively correlated with the proportion of area logged in the sample watersheds. There were large increases in potential smoke production from the historical to the current periods for many sample watersheds due to changes in fuel loadings associated with management activities and, presumably, fire suppression. Wildfires were shown to produce nearly twice the amount of smoke as prescribed fire for the current period for all river basins. Understanding these and other tradeoffs will assist managers and society in making informed decisions about how to implement prescribed fire and manage wildfire to address air quality and forest health problems. Because of the variability of fuel or vegetative conditions observed among the sample watersheds, we recommend an extensive characterization of these conditions before large-scale restoration and maintenance of fire-related processes are undertaken.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationHuff, Mark H.; Ottmar, Roger D.; Alvarado, Ernesto; Vihnanek, Robert E.; Lehmkuhl, John F.; Hessburg, Paul F.; Everett, Richard L. 1995. Historical and current forest landscapes in eastern Oregon and Washington Part II: Linking vegetation characteristics to potential fire behavior and related smoke production. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-355. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 43 p. (Everett, Richard L., team leader; Eastside forest ecosystem health assessment; Hessburg, Paul F., science team leader and tech. ed., Volume III: assessment.)
KeywordsAir quality, emissions (PM10), fire risk assessment, fire management, fuel loading, landscape-level assessment, smoke management, smoke
- Historical and current forest landscapes of eastern Oregon and Washington Part I: Vegetation pattern and insect and disease hazards.
- Modeling change in potential landscape vulnerability to forest insect and pathogen disturbances: methods for forested subwatersheds sampled in the midscale interior Columbia River basin assessment.
- Classifying plant series-level forest potential types: methods for subbasins sampled in the midscale assessment of the interior Columbia basin.
XML: View XML