Skip to Main Content
Prescribed burning in ponderosa pine: fuel reductions and redistributing fuels near boles to prevent injuryAuthor(s): Robert A. Progar; Kathryn H. Hrinkevich; Edward S. Clark; Matthew J. Rinella
Source: Fire Ecology. 13(1): 149-161.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
View PDF (665.0 KB)
DescriptionFire suppression and other factors have resulted in high wildfire risk in the western US, and prescribed burning can be an effective tool for thinning forests and reducing fuels to lessen wildfire risks. However, prescribed burning sometimes fails to substantially reduce fuels and sometimes damages and kills valuable, large trees. This study compared fuel reductions between spring and fall prescribed burns and tested whether removing (i.e., raking) fuels within 1 m of boles reduced fire damage to ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex Lawson & C. Lawson). In 2007 and 2008, raking was applied to alternating trees along 18 transects in central Oregon, USA. Fuels surrounding 292 trees were burned in fall 2010, and fuels surrounding 216 trees were burned in spring 2012. Both seasons of burn affected most fuel size classes similarly, with one exception being duff, which was more fully consumed in fall than in spring. Where fall burning occurred, raking reduced the percentage of dead cambium samples from 24.3 ±4.9 % to 6.4 ±3.0 % (point estimates ±95 % confidence intervals), in addition to reducing bole scorch. Conversely, where spring burning occurred, injury of not-raked trees was milder, so raking did not have the potential to greatly reduce damage. Redistributing fuels away from boles would be more beneficial under relatively dry conditions when duff is prone to extensive smoldering. Our study and most other studies suggest that duff is, on average, drier in fall than in spring, so raking would tend to afford more protection from fall burns than from spring burns. The little tree mortality that occurred was split nearly evenly between raked trees (25) and not-raked trees (30), so raking did not appreciably increase survival in this study. However, the finding that raking reduced injury suggests that it may reduce mortality from more intense burns.
- 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.
CitationProgar, Robert A.; Hrinkevich, Kathryn H.; Clark, Edward S.; Rinella, Matthew J. 2017. Prescribed burning in ponderosa pine: fuel reductions and redistributing fuels near boles to prevent injury. Fire Ecology. 13(1): 149-161. https://doi.org/10.4996/fireecology.1301149.
Keywordsbark char, fuels reduction, ponderosa pine, post-fire mortality, prescribed fire, raking, season of burn, tree protection
- Effectiveness of litter removal in preventing mortality of yellow barked ponderosa pine in northern Arizona
- Effectiveness of litter removal to prevent cambial kill-caused mortality in northern Arizona ponderosa pine
- Effects of low intensity prescribed fires on ponderosa pine forests in wilderness areas of Zion National Park, Utah
XML: View XML