Thursday, 20 November 2003: 10:30 AM
Fuels planning: managing forest structure to reduce fire hazard
We have developed scientific principles and guidelines that link silvicultural treatments to fire hazard for dry forests in the western United States. A straightforward decision-making process is used to plan fuel treatments. First, identify the probability of crown-fire hazard that is acceptable, and set desired future conditions for fuelbeds, from the forest canopy to the forest floor. Second, develop silvicultural prescriptions that modify canopy and ladder fuels, and fire and mechanical prescriptions that modify surface fuels. Third, using basic inventory and fuels data, preview initial stand conditions and desired future conditions with high-quality visualizations, in conjunction with data tables. A range of treatments can be considered in planning fuel treatments for any particular stand or landscape. The availability of quantitative guidelines and visual scenarios will improve environmental analysis for the national mandate to manage fuels more effectively.