Center for Fire Research and Outreach
Center for Fire Research and Outreach
Center for Fire Research and Outreach
University of California
Center for Fire Research and Outreach

News

Latest Center News

2/6/17 - Worried About Dead Trees in California Forests? Blame Fire Suppression

"Fire suppression has caused a change in forest structure, and that change is interacting with changes in climate, to drive mortality," says Stevens. But the story gets a bit more complicated still, because it's rarely thirst itself that kills the trees.

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11/30 - Study Finds Surprising Culprit Drives Forest Fire Behavior

Temperatures are rising and forest fires, already larger and more frequent than the historical norm, are projected to increase dramatically with anthropogenic warming. But a study released last week found an influence on past fire activity even greater than climate: human beings. The way humans have used land in the Sierra has had more effect on fire behavior than climate change.

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11/16 - U.S. federal fire and forest policy: emphasizing resilience in dry forests

Current U.S. forest fire policy emphasizes short-term outcomes versus long-term goals. This perspective drives managers to focus on the protection of high-valued resources, whether ecosystem-based or developed infrastructure, at the expense of forest resilience. Given these current and future challenges posed by wildland fire and because the U.S. Forest Service spent >50% of its budget on fire suppression in 2015, a review and reexamination of existing policy is warranted. One of the most difficult challenges to revising forest fire policy is that agency organizations and decision making processes are not structured in ways to ensure that fire management is thoroughly considered in management decisions.

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11/7 - Let It Burn: The Forest Service Wants to Stop Putting Out Some Fires

California’s fire season hasn’t turned out to be as bad as some feared this year. Stephens says today there’s actually a fire deficit.

Sierra Nevada forests are adapted to low-intensity fires that clear the underbrush and prevent trees from getting too dense. After a century of fire suppression, many forests are overgrown, which can make catastrophic fires worse.

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10/13 - Managed Wildfire Effects on Forest Resilience and Water in the Sierra Nevada

Fire suppression in many dry forest types has left a legacy of dense, homogeneous forests. Such landscapes have high water demands and fuel loads, and when burned can result in catastrophically large fires. These characteristics are undesirable in the face of projected warming and drying in the western US. Alternative forest and fire treatments based on managed wildfire—a regime in which fires are allowed to burn naturally and only suppressed under defined management conditions—offer a potential strategy to ameliorate the effects of fire suppression. Understanding the long-term effects of this strategy on vegetation, water, and forest resilience is increasingly important as the use of managed wildfire becomes more widely accepted. Managed wildfire appears to increase landscape heterogeneity, and likely improves resilience to disturbances, such as fire and drought, although more detailed analysis of fire effects on basin-scale hydrology is needed.

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For today's top fire-related news stories, please view our Wildfire News

 

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