Forest Service’s burned research area fuels case for thinning and prescribed burns

By Jerry Howard
KDRV Newswatch
February 15, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

YREKA, California — The U.S. Forest Service says the aftermath of a Northern California wildfire is fueling its own insights into wildfire recovery. It’s providing a side-by-side comparison between natural growth and prescribed burning with mechanical thinning. The USDA U.S. Forest Service says, “Sometimes out of adversity comes wisdom,” citing findings by Pacific Southwest Research Station Ecologist Eric Knapp from the 2021 Antelope Fire. …USFS says because the fire burned for days, they could observe how different fuel treatments performed under various weather conditions as wind and humidity drove fire behavior, which fluctuated between high intensity to moderate. …Data analysis showed areas previously treated with thinning and prescribed burning fared best, with the most living trees. Untreated control areas where no treatments occurred were in the worst shape. …USFS says this finding, “suggests that fuel treatments will be increasingly important as climate change contributes to more extreme fire weather.

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