Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (419 KB)

Title: Short- and long-term effects on fuels, forest structure, and wildfire potential from prescribed fire and resource benefit fire in southwestern forests, USA

Author: Hunter, Molly E.; Iniguez, Jose M.; Lentile, Leigh B.;

Date: 2011

Source: Fire Ecology. 7(3): 108-121.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Prescribed and resource benefit fires are used to manage fuels in fire-prone landscapes in the Southwest. These practices, however, typically occur under different conditions, potentially leading to differences in fire behavior and effects. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of recent prescribed fires, resource benefit fires, and repeated fires in ponderosa pine forests, as well as recent resource benefit fires in pinyon-juniper woodlands. The Gila National Forest was the study area because it has a rich history of using fire as a restoration tool. In each vegetation type, fuels and stand structure were sampled using random plots stratified by burn severity in resource benefit fires. In ponderosa pine, sampling and analysis also included prescribed fire and areas subject to repeated resource benefit fires. To assess potential fire behavior, we used the crown fire behavior prediction model Nexus using ninetieth percentile weather conditions. In ponderosa pine forests, surface fuels were similar between prescribed fires and low severity resource benefit fires. However, resource benefit fires significantly reduced basal area, resulting in lower loading of canopy fuels and crown fire potential. Additionally, effects of resource benefit fire on stand structure and fuels seem to be sustained in areas that burned in two or three resource benefit fires in the last century. In pinyon-juniper woodlands, resource benefit low severity fires had no effect on surface or canopy fuel loads. Moderate severity resource benefit fires, on the other hand, did significantly reduce surface and canopy fuel loads. Results from this study are pertinent to fire and fuels managers throughout the southwestern United States who utilize prescribed and resource benefit fire to reduce fuel loads and restore historical forest conditions.

Keywords: canopy bulk density, crown fire, fuel loading, prescribed fire

Publication Notes:

  • 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.



Hunter, Molly E.; Iniguez, Jose M.; Lentile, Leigh B. 2011. Short- and long-term effects on fuels, forest structure, and wildfire potential from prescribed fire and resource benefit fire in southwestern forests, USA. Fire Ecology. 7(3): 108-121.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.