Skip to Main Content
Forest structure and fire hazard in dry forests of the Western United StatesAuthor(s): David L. Peterson; Morris C. Johnson; James K. Agee; Theresa B. Jain; Donald McKenzie; Elizabeth D. Reinhardt
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-628. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 30 p
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
Download Publication (1.76 MB)
DescriptionFire, in conjunction with landforms and climate, shapes the structure and function of forests throughout the Western United States, where millions of acres of forest lands contain accumulations of flammable fuel that are much higher than historical conditions owing to various forms of fire exclusion. The Healthy Forests Restoration Act mandates that public land managers assertively address this situation through active management of fuel and vegetation. This document synthesizes the relevant scientific knowledge that can assist fuel-treatment projects on national forests and other public lands and contribute to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analyses and other assessments. It is intended to support science-based decisionmaking for fuel management in dry forests of the Western United States at the scale of forest stands (about 1 to 200 acres). It highlights ecological principles that need to be considered when managing forest fuel and vegetation for specific conditions related to forest structure and fire hazard. It also provides quantitative and qualitative guidelines for planning and implementing fuel treatments through various silvicultural prescriptions and surfacefuel treatments. Effective fuel treatments in forest stands with high fuel accumulations will typically require thinning to increase canopy base height, reduce canopy bulk density, reduce canopy continuity, and require a substantial reduction in surface fuel through prescribed fire or mechanical treatment or both. Long-term maintenance of desired fuel loadings and consideration of broader landscape patterns may improve the effectiveness of fuel treatments.
- Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
- 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.
CitationPeterson, David L.; Johnson, Morris C.; Agee, James K.; Jain, Theresa B.; McKenzie, Donald; Reinhardt, Elizabeth D. 2005. Forest structure and fire hazard in dry forests of the Western United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-628. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 30 p.
KeywordsCrown fire, fire hazard, forest structure, fuel treatments, prescribed burning, silviculture, thinning
- Fuel treatment guidebook: illustrating treatment effects on fire hazard
- Guide to fuel treatments in dry forests of the Western United States: assessing forest structure and fire hazard.
- A fuel treatment reduces potential fire severity and increases suppression efficiency in a Sierran mixed conifer forest
XML: View XML