Monday, 17 November 2003: 2:30 PM
Fuel loading and potential fire behavior after selective harvest in coast redwood stands
Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.) stands near Santa Cruz, California were selectively harvested in 2002 either by tractor-skidding or cable logging based on terrain and access. While logging is used at times to reduce fuel continuity and subsequent fire behavior, there is an inherent increase in down woody fuels from logging slash immediately after harvest, which then potentially serves to create intense, fast spreading fires. Fires have historically played a substantial ecological role in redwood forests and were typically low-intensity surface fires as a result of a maritime, Mediterranean climate. Historic fires had little residual effect on larger trees due to low fire behavior and the speciesí thick, insulating bark. However, hot, dry foehn winds are not uncommon and coupled with an increased fuel load from harvesting could quickly increase fire behavior and subsequent mortality of residual trees in these stands.
Therefore, this study examined fuel loading and potential fire behavior immediately before and after the selective harvest on permanent plots within the harvest boundaries. The effects of harvest intensity and skidding treatments on surface fuel loading and subsequent potential fire behavior were analyzed in both typical and extreme fire weather conditions.