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    The 1998 wildfires in Florida sparked a serious debate about the accumulation of hazardous forest fuels and the merits of prescribed fire and alternatives for mitigating that problem. One such alternative is application of understory herbicides and anecdotal evidence suggests they may either exacerbate or lessen the fuel accumulation problem. In 1998, a study was initiated in northern Florida to document changes in fuel characteristics in slash pine (Pinus elliottii) plantations treated with a mid-rotation understory herbicide and model their potential impacts on fire behavior. Field data showed unmanaged stands contained the highest loadings of understory fuels and in the first year after herbicide treatment, fuel loading did not change. In subsequent years, fuel loading rapidly decreased and remained low. Potential fire behavior, as predicted by BEHAVE, followed this fuel accumulation trend in that catastrophic stand-replacing fires were predicted for unmanaged and recently herbicided stands, and low-intensity surface fires for stands that had been herbicided several years prior.

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    Brose, Patrick H.; Wade, Dale. 2002. Understory Herbicide as a Treatment For Reducing Hazardous Fuels and Extreme Fire Behavior in Slash Pine Plantations. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–48. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. pp. 109-113

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