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Vegetation and topographical correlates of fire severity from two fires in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of Oregon and CaliforniaAuthor(s): John D. Alexander; Nathaniel E. Seavy; C Ralph; Bill Hogoboom
Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire 15: 237-245
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionWe used vegetation data collected in areas before they were burned by the 2500 ha Quartz fire in southern Oregon and the 50 600 ha Big Bar complex in northern California to evaluate the ability of vegetation and topographic characteristics to predict patterns of fire severity. Fire severity was characterized as high, moderate, or low based on crown scorch and consumption, and changes in soil structure. In both fires, vegetation plots with southern aspects were more likely to burn with high severity than plots with eastern, northern, or western aspects. This was the only consistent predictor across both fires. In the Quartz fire, we found that plots at higher elevations and with larger diameter trees were more likely to burn with low or moderate severity. These correlations may have been influenced in part by the effects of unmeasured weather conditions. We found few strong correlates in the Big Bar complex, owing in part to the fact that most (75%) of our plots were in the low-severity category, providing relatively little variation. These results, in combination with previous studies of fire severity in the Klamath-Siskiyou region, suggest that areas with southern aspects tend to burn with greater severity than those of other aspects, areas with large trees burn less severely than those with smaller trees, and that correlates of fire severity vary extensively among fires.
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CitationAlexander, John D.; Seavy, Nathaniel E.; Ralph, C. John; Hogoboom, Bill. 2006. Vegetation and topographical correlates of fire severity from two fires in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of Oregon and California. International Journal of Wildland Fire 15: 237-245
Keywordsclassification trees, topography, vegetation structure, wildfire
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