Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Becky L. Estes; Eric E. Knapp; Carl N. Skinner; Fabian C. C. Uzoh
    Date: 2012
    Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (673.5 KB)


    Reducing stand density is often used as a tool for mitigating the risk of high-intensity crown fires. However, concern has been expressed that opening stands might lead to greater drying of surface fuels, contributing to increased fire risk. The objective of this study was to determine whether woody fuel moisture differed between unthinned and thinned mixed-conifer stands. Sections of logs representing the 1000- and 10 000-h fuel sizes were placed at 72 stations within treatment units in the fall (autumn) of 2007. Following snow-melt in 2008, 10-h fuel sticks were added and all fuels were weighed every 1–2 weeks from May until October. Moisture of the 1000- and 10 000-h fuels peaked at the end of May, and then decreased steadily through the season. Moisture of the 10- and 1000-h fuels did not differ between unthinned and thinned stands at any measurement time. The 10 000-h fuel moisture was significantly less in thinned than unthinned stands only in early to mid-May. Overall, even when fuel moisture varied between treatments, differences were small. The long nearly precipitation-free summers in northern California appear to have a much larger effect on fuel moisture than the amount of canopy cover. Fuel moisture differences resulting from stand thinning would therefore not be expected to substantially influence fire behaviour and effects during times of highest fire danger in this environment.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to 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.


    Estes, Becky L.; Knapp, Eric E.; Skinner, Carl N.; Uzoh, Fabian C. C. 2012. Seasonal variation in surface fuel moisture between unthinned and thinned mixed conifer forest, northern California, USA. Int. J. Wildland Fire.


    Google Scholar


    fire behaviour, fuel reduction treatments, large-diameter fuels, microclimate.

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page