International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Post-fire surface fuel dynamics in California forests across three burn severity classes

Bianca N. I. Eskelson A C 1 and Vicente J. Monleon B 1
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A The University of British Columbia, Department of Forest Resources Management, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada.

B USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Corvallis Forestry Sciences Laboratory, 3200 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.

C Corresponding author. Email: bianca.eskelson@ubc.ca

International Journal of Wildland Fire 27(2) 114-124 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF17148
Submitted: 30 September 2017  Accepted: 13 December 2017   Published: 20 February 2018

Abstract

Forest wildfires consume fuel and are followed by post-fire fuel accumulation. This study examines post-fire surface fuel dynamics over 9 years across a wide range of conditions characteristic of California fires in dry conifer and hardwood forests. We estimated post-fire surface fuel loadings (Mg ha−1) from 191 repeatedly measured United States national inventory plots in dry conifer and hardwood stands of 49 California forest wildfires and identified differences across fire severity classes – low, moderate and high. No significant change in duff load was detected within the first 9 years post-fire across all forest types and fire severities. Litter, 1-h and 10-h fuels exhibited a quadratic trend over time in dry conifer stands, peaking ~6 years after fire, whereas hardwood stands displayed a constant rate of increase in those fuel types. For 100- and 1000-h fuels, the annual rate of change was constant for dry conifer and hardwood stands with differing rates of change across fire severity classes. This study was based on an extensive, spatially balanced sample across burned dry conifer and hardwood forests of California. Therefore, the estimated patterns of fuel accumulation are generally applicable to wildfires within this population.

Additional keywords: fire severity, fuel, post-fire impacts.


References

Agee JK, Huff MH (1987) Fuel succession in a western hemlock/Douglas-fir forest. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 17, 697–704.
Fuel succession in a western hemlock/Douglas-fir forest.CrossRef |

Baguley TS (2012) ‘Serious Stats. A Guide to Advanced Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences.’ (Palgrave Macmillan: New York, NY, USA)

Bechtold WA, Patterson PL (2005) The enhanced Forest Inventory and Analysis program – national sampling design and estimation procedures. USDA Forest Service, General Technical Report SRS-GTR-80. (Asheville, NC, USA)

Busing R, Rimar K, Stolte KW, Stohlgren TJ (1999) Forest health monitoring. Vegetation pilot field methods guide: vegetation diversity and structure, down woody debris, fuel loading. USDA Forest Service, National Health and Monitoring Program. (Research Triangle Park, NC, USA) Available at https://andrewsforest.oregonstate.edu/sites/default/files/lter/pubs/pdf/pub2678.pdf [Verified 16 January 2018]

Campbell J, Donato D, Azuma D, Law B (2007) Pyrogenic carbon emission from a large wildfire in Oregon, United States. Journal of Geophysical Research. Biogeosciences 112, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1029/2007JG000451

Coppoletta M, Merriam KE, Collins BM (2016) Post-fire vegetation and fuel development influences fire severity patterns in reburns. Ecological Applications 26, 686–699.
Post-fire vegetation and fuel development influences fire severity patterns in reburns.CrossRef |

Crotteau JS, Varner JM, Ritchie MW (2013) Post-fire regeneration across a fire severity gradient in the southern Cascades. Forest Ecology and Management 287, 103–112.
Post-fire regeneration across a fire severity gradient in the southern Cascades.CrossRef |

Crotteau JS, Ritchie MW, Varner JM, III, Berrill J-P (2015) Quercus kelloggii (Newb.) sprout response to fire severity in norther California. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest General Technical Report PSW-GTR-251, pp. 377–386. (Berkley, CA, USA)

Dennison PE, Brewer SC, Arnold JD, Moritz MA (2014) Large wildfire trends in the western United States, 1984–2011. Geophysical Research Letters 41, 2928–2933.
Large wildfire trends in the western United States, 1984–2011.CrossRef |

Dunn CJ, Bailey JD (2012) Temporal dynamics and decay of coarse wood in early seral habitats of dry-mixed conifer forests in Oregon’s Eastern Cascades. Forest Ecology and Management 276, 71–81.
Temporal dynamics and decay of coarse wood in early seral habitats of dry-mixed conifer forests in Oregon’s Eastern Cascades.CrossRef |

Dunn CJ, Bailey JD (2015) Temporal fuel dynamics following high-severity fire in dry mixed conifer of the eastern Cascades, Oregon, USA. International Journal of Wildland Fire 24, 470–483.
Temporal fuel dynamics following high-severity fire in dry mixed conifer of the eastern Cascades, Oregon, USA.CrossRef |

Elliott KJ, Hendrick RL, Major AE, Vose JM, Swank WT (1999) Vegetation dynamics after a prescribed fire in the southern Appalachians. Forest Ecology and Management 114, 199–213.
Vegetation dynamics after a prescribed fire in the southern Appalachians.CrossRef |

Eskelson BNI, Monleon VJ, Fried JS (2016) A 6 year longitudinal study of post-fire woody carbon dynamics in California’s forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 46, 610–620.
A 6 year longitudinal study of post-fire woody carbon dynamics in California’s forests.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC28Xks1CmsLk%3D&md5=c41ac561471303f68bf1c55d85648501CAS |

Hall SA, Burke IC, Hobbs NT (2006) Litter and dead wood dynamics in ponderosa pine forests along a 160-year chronosequence. Ecological Applications 16, 2344–2355.
Litter and dead wood dynamics in ponderosa pine forests along a 160-year chronosequence.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD2s%2FgvF2juw%3D%3D&md5=0731678d1c5ee40b64530faadce2509eCAS |

Harmon ME, Woodall CW, Fasth B, Sexton J (2008) Woody detritus density and density reduction factors for tree species in the United States: a synthesis. USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, General Technical Report NRS-29. (Newton Square, PA, USA)

Harmon ME, Woodall CW, Fasth B, Sexton J, Yatkov M (2011) Differences between standing and downed dead tree wood density reduction factors: a comparison across decay classes and tree species. USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station Research Paper NRS-15. (Newton Square, PA, USA)

Hille MG, Stephens SL (2005) Mixed conifer forest duff consumption during prescribed fires: tree crown impacts. Forest Science 51, 417–424.

Hudec JL, Peterson DL (2012) Fuel variability following wildfire in forests with mixed severity fire regimes, Cascade Range, USA. Forest Ecology and Management 277, 11–24.
Fuel variability following wildfire in forests with mixed severity fire regimes, Cascade Range, USA.CrossRef |

Hyde JC, Smith AM, Ottmar RD, Alvarado EC, Morgan P (2011) The combustion of sound and rotten coarse woody debris: a review. International Journal of Wildland Fire 20, 163–174.
The combustion of sound and rotten coarse woody debris: a review.CrossRef |

Jain TB, Graham RT (2007) The Relation between tree burn severity and forest structure in the Rocky Mountains. Restoring Fire-Adapted Ecosystems: Proceedings of the 2005 National Silviculture Workshop, Gen. Tech. 306, 213–250. Available at http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/documents/psw_gtr203/ [Verified 29 September 2017]

Jain TM, Rhoads R, Fried JS (2010) Field instructions for the annual inventory of California, Oregon, and Washington 2010. Supplement for: fire effects and recovery study. Available at http://pnwfia.info/documentation/Fire_Effects_and_Recovery_Study_2010_4-30-10_FINAL.pdf [Verified 29 September 2017]

Jenkins MJ, Page WG, Hebertson EG, Alexander ME (2012) Fuels and fire behavior dynamics in bark beetle-attacked forests in Western North America and implications for fire management. Forest Ecology and Management 275, 23–34.
Fuels and fire behavior dynamics in bark beetle-attacked forests in Western North America and implications for fire management.CrossRef |

Johnson EA, Miyanishi K (2008) Testing the assumptions of chronosequences in succession. Ecology Letters 11, 419–431.
Testing the assumptions of chronosequences in succession.CrossRef |

Kashian DM, Romme WH, Tinker DB, Turner MG, Ryan MG (2013) Postfire changes in forest carbon storage over a 300-year chronosequence of Pinus contorta-dominated forests. Ecological Monographs 83, 49–66.
Postfire changes in forest carbon storage over a 300-year chronosequence of Pinus contorta-dominated forests.CrossRef |

Keane RE (2008) Surface fuel litterfall and decomposition in the Northern Rocky Mountains. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Research Paper RMRS-RP-70. (Fort Collins, CO, USA)

Keane RE (2015) Wildland fuel fundamentals and applications. (Springer International Publishing: Cham, Switzerland)

Keifer M, van Wagendink JW, Buhler M (2006) Long-term surface fuel accumulation in burned and unburned mixed-conifer forests of the central and southern Sierra Nevada, CA (USA). Fire Ecology 2, 53–72.
Long-term surface fuel accumulation in burned and unburned mixed-conifer forests of the central and southern Sierra Nevada, CA (USA).CrossRef |

Keyser TL, Smith FW, Sheppard WD (2009) Short-term impact of post-fire salvage logging on regeneration, hazardous fuel accumulation, and understorey development in ponderosa pine forests of the Black Hills, SD, USA. International Journal of Wildland Fire 18, 451–458.
Short-term impact of post-fire salvage logging on regeneration, hazardous fuel accumulation, and understorey development in ponderosa pine forests of the Black Hills, SD, USA.CrossRef |

Knapp EE, Keeley JE, Ballenger EA, Brennan TJ (2005) Fuel reduction and coarse woody debris dynamics with early season and late season prescribed fire in a Sierra Nevada mixed conifer forest. Forest Ecology and Management 208, 383–397.
Fuel reduction and coarse woody debris dynamics with early season and late season prescribed fire in a Sierra Nevada mixed conifer forest.CrossRef |

Kuehl RO (2000) ‘Design of experiments: statistical principles of research design and analysis, 2nd Ed.’ (Duxbury Press: Pacific Grove, CA, USA)

Lutes DC, Keane RE, Caratti JF (2009) A surface fuel classification for estimating fire effects. International Journal of Wildland Fire 18, 802–814.
A surface fuel classification for estimating fire effects.CrossRef |

Miller JD, Safford HD, Grimmins M, Thode AE (2009) Quantitative evidence for increasing forest fire severity in the Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascade Mountains, California and Nevada, USA. Ecosystems 12, 16–32.
Quantitative evidence for increasing forest fire severity in the Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascade Mountains, California and Nevada, USA.CrossRef |

Monleon VJ, Cromack K (1996) Long-term effects of prescribed underburning on litter decomposition and nutrient release in ponderosa pine stands in central Oregon. Forest Ecology and Management 81, 143–152.
Long-term effects of prescribed underburning on litter decomposition and nutrient release in ponderosa pine stands in central Oregon.CrossRef |

Monleon VJ, Cromack K, Landsberg JD (1997) Short- and long-term effects of prescribed underburning on nitrogen availability in ponderosa pine stands in central Oregon. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 27, 369–378.
Short- and long-term effects of prescribed underburning on nitrogen availability in ponderosa pine stands in central Oregon.CrossRef |

Morrison ML, Raphael MG (1993) Modeling the dynamics of snags. Ecological Applications 3, 322–330.
Modeling the dynamics of snags.CrossRef |

North M, Collins BM, Stephens S (2012) Using fire to increase the scale, benefits, and future maintenance of fuels treatments. Journal of Forestry 110, 392–401.
Using fire to increase the scale, benefits, and future maintenance of fuels treatments.CrossRef |

Parsons DJ, DeBenedetti SH (1979) Impact of fire suppression on a mixed-conifer forest. Forest Ecology and Management 2, 21–33.
Impact of fire suppression on a mixed-conifer forest.CrossRef |

Passovoy MD, Fulé PZ (2006) Snag and woody debris dynamics following severe wildfires in northern Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Forest Ecology and Management 223, 237–246.
Snag and woody debris dynamics following severe wildfires in northern Arizona ponderosa pine forests.CrossRef |

Ramsey FL, Schafer DW (2013) ‘The statistical sleuth. A course in methods of data analysis.’ (Books/Cole CENGAGE Learning: Boston, MA, USA)

Raphael MG, Morrison ML (1987) Decay and dynamics of snags in the Sierra Nevada, California. Forest Science 33, 774–783.

Raymond CL, Peterson DL (2005) Fuel treatments alter the effects of wildfire in a mixed-evergreen forest, Oregon, USA. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 35, 2981–2995.
Fuel treatments alter the effects of wildfire in a mixed-evergreen forest, Oregon, USA.CrossRef |

Ritchie MW, Knapp EE, Skinner CN (2013) Snag longevity and surface fuel accumulation following post-fire logging in a ponderosa pine dominated forest. Forest Ecology and Management 287, 113–122.
Snag longevity and surface fuel accumulation following post-fire logging in a ponderosa pine dominated forest.CrossRef |

Roccaforte JP, Fulé PZ, Chancellor WW, Laughlin DC (2012) Woody debris and tree regeneration dynamics following severe wildfires in Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 42, 593–604.
Woody debris and tree regeneration dynamics following severe wildfires in Arizona ponderosa pine forests.CrossRef |

Rusticus SA, Lovato CY (2014) Impact of sample size and variability on the power and type I error rates of equivalence tests: a simulation study. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation 19, 1–10.

Santos Silva JMC, Tenreyro S (2006) The log of gravity. The Review of Economics and Statistics 88, 641–658.
The log of gravity.CrossRef |

Stalling C, Keane RE, Retzlaff M (2017) Surface fuel changes after severe disturbances in northern Rocky Mountain ecosystems. Forest Ecology and Management 400, 38–47.
Surface fuel changes after severe disturbances in northern Rocky Mountain ecosystems.CrossRef | https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2017.05.020

Stephens SL (2005) Forest fire causes and extent on United States Forest Service lands. International Journal of Wildland Fire 14, 213–222.
Forest fire causes and extent on United States Forest Service lands.CrossRef |

Stephens SL, Moghaddas JJ, Edminster C, Fiedler CE, Haase S, Harrington M, Keeley JE, Knapp EE, McIver JD, Metlen K, Skinner CN, Youngblood A (2009) Fire treatment effects on vegetation structure, fuels, and potential fire severity in western US forests. Ecological Applications 19, 305–320.
Fire treatment effects on vegetation structure, fuels, and potential fire severity in western US forests.CrossRef |

Stevens-Rumann CS, Sieg CH, Hunter ME (2012) Ten years after wildfire: how does varying tree mortality impact fire hazard and forest resiliency? Forest Ecology and Management 267, 199–208.
Ten years after wildfire: how does varying tree mortality impact fire hazard and forest resiliency?CrossRef |

Thompson JR, Spies TA, Ganio LM (2007) Reburn severity in managed and unmanaged vegetation in a large wildfire. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104, 10743–10748.
Reburn severity in managed and unmanaged vegetation in a large wildfire.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD2sXnt1ylurk%3D&md5=d583542bb8beade7281480b1c8f187c8CAS |

USDA Forest Service (2016) Field instructions for the annual inventory of California, Oregon and Washington. (USDA Pacific Northwest Research Station) Available at http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/rma/fia-topics/documentation/field-manuals/documents/Annual/2016_annual_inventory_pnw_south.pdf [Verified 27 November 2017]

Vaillant NM, Fites-Kaufman JA, Stephens SL (2009) Effectiveness of prescribed fire as fuel treatment in Californian coniferous forests. International Journal of Wildland Fire 18, 165–175.
Effectiveness of prescribed fire as fuel treatment in Californian coniferous forests.CrossRef |

van Leeuwen TT, van der Werf GR, Hoffmann AA, Detmers RG, Rücker G, French NHF, Archibald S, Carvalho JA, Cook GD, de Groot WJ, Hély C, Kasoschke ER, Kloster S, McCarty JL, Pettinari ML, Savadogo P, Alvarado EC, Boschetti L, Manuri S, Meyer CP, Siegert F, Trollope LA, Trollope WSW (2014) Biomass burning fuel consumption rates: a field measurement database. Biogeosciences Discussions 11, 7305–7329.
Biomass burning fuel consumption rates: a field measurement database.CrossRef |

van Mantgem PJ, Lalemand LB, Keifer M, Kane J (2016) Duration of fuels reduction following prescribed fire in coniferous forests of US national parks in California and the Colorado Plateau. Forest Ecology and Management 379, 265–272.
Duration of fuels reduction following prescribed fire in coniferous forests of US national parks in California and the Colorado Plateau.CrossRef |

Walker LR, Wardle DA, Bardgett RD, Clarkson BD (2010) The use of chronosequences in studies of ecological succession and soil development. Journal of Ecology 98, 725–736.
The use of chronosequences in studies of ecological succession and soil development.CrossRef |

Westerling AL, Hidalgo HG, Cayan DR, Swetnam TW (2006) Warming and earlier spring increase western US forest wildfire activity. Science 313, 940–943.
Warming and earlier spring increase western US forest wildfire activity.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD28XotFCitbo%3D&md5=d37f1609d3aaf478313fc5e806598107CAS |

Woodall CW, Monleon VJ (2008) Sampling protocol, estimation, and analysis procedures for the down woody materials indicator of the FIA program. USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, General Technical Report NRS-22. (Newtown Square, PA, USA)

Wooldridge JM (2002) Chapter 10: Basic linear unobserved effects panel data models. In ‘Econometric analysis of cross section and panel data’, pp. 247–298. (The MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, USA)



Supplementary MaterialSupplementary Material (135 KB) Export Citation