The Ability of Wildfire to Act as a Fuel Treatment

Presenter: Sean Parks, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, Rocky Mountain Research Station, U.S. Forest Service

  • 12pm pm MST January 21, 2015

In partnership with the Northern Rockies Fire Science Network, Sean will present the results from a JSFP-funded study that highlights the ability of wildfire to act as a fuel treatment. This study evaluated whether or not wildfires limited the occurrence, size, and severity of subsequent wildfires in four large wilderness complexes in Idaho, Montana, and New Mexico. Our focus on protected areas was intended to minimize anthropogenic factors that may affect fire behavior and effects (e.g., roads and fuel treatments). Results suggest that 1) wildfires reduce the probability that subsequent fires will ignite and spread, 2) wildfires reduce the size of subsequent fires by acting as fuel breaks, and 3) the severity of subsequent fires is significantly lower in areas that have recently burned compared to areas that have not. The strength and longevity of the moderating effect vary by study area, suggesting that ecosystem-level processes controlling fire regime characteristics and regrowth of vegetation are responsible for these differences. Click here to register NOW!

Fires of Change

This project is designed to integrate fire and climate science with art to offer a unique interpretation for the northern Arizona community. Together with partners, Landscape Conservation Initiative (LCI) and Flagstaff Arts Council (FAC), we selected 11 artists to participate. In September 2014, these artists attended field trips to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and other locations in northern Arizona with fire managers and scientists to learn about fire and climate science. They will turn their learning experience into art pieces for an exhibit in September 2015 in conjunction with the Flagstaff Festival of Science. For more information on the exhibit, visit the FAC website. The LCI blog will follow artist progress until the exhibit here. We also created a short video “teaser” to provide a basic description of the process for this project below.

Fires of Change Field Trip Materials are available here:


Managing Fire, Understanding Ourselves:  Human Dimensions in Safety and Wildland Fire, IAWF, April 20-24, 2015 in Boise, Idaho

6th International Fire Ecology & Management Congress: Advancing Ecology in Fire Management, AFE, November 16-20, 2015. San Antonio, Texas