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Title: Fire risk in east-side forests.

Author: Rapp, Valerie.;

Date: 2002

Source: Science Update. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. September (2): 1-12

Publication Series: Science Update

Description: Wildfire was a natural part of ecosystems in east-side Oregon and Washington before the 20th century. The fire regimes, or characteristic patterns of fire—how often, how hot, how big, what time of year—helped create and maintain various types of forests.

Forests are dynamic, and fire interacts with other ecological processes. Fires, forests, and their interactions are closely studied by scientists from the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station and their partners.

Over the past century, land use and land management practices changed fire regimes in east-side forests, particularly in dry, low-elevation forests that were historically dominated by large, widely spaced ponderosa pines.

Now, in the 21st century, the extent of high-severity fire regimes exceeds that of low-severity fire regimes in east-side forests. The forests most likely to have changed from low- to high-severity regimes are also those forests near human communities.

Fires can pose risks to people and their communities, even though fires may be a natural part of the ecosystem in which those people happen to live.

A variety of passive and active restoration options can be used to manage—but not eliminate—fire risk. Scientists offer information about the outcomes of these choices.

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Rapp, Valerie. 2002. Fire risk in east-side forests. Science Update. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. September (2): 1-12


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