WUI Fuels/Fuel Treatments - A Collection of Resources
This is the fourth of six webinars in our Fuel Breaks in Sagebrush Country: A Multidisciplinary Webinar Series and Discussion.
To learn about other webinars in the series, see the webinar series webpage.
This webinar features:
Targeted grazing: A large multiregional fuel breaks project – Pat Clark, ARS
Sheep grazing success in the WUI – Lyndsey Boyer, Carson City Parks, Recreation, and Open Space
Spot fires caused by wind-blown burning embers are a significant mechanism of fire spread in the wildland and Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI). Fire spread and structure ignition by embers can be characterized by three major processes or mechanisms: ember production, ember transport, and ember ignition of fuel. This study investigates ember production from selected wildland and structural fuels under a range of environmental conditions through full-scale, intermediate-scale, and small-scale laboratory experiments.
Tradeoffs between US national forest harvest targets and fuel management to reduce wildfire transmission to the WUI
View the study.
In this study we used the 79 western US national forests to examine tradeoffs between forest management scenarios targeting wildfire risk to the wildland urban interface (WUI) and those meeting agency convertible volume production targets. We quantified production frontiers to measure how the efficiency of meeting harvest volume targets is affected by prioritizing treatments to areas that transmit fire to the WUI. The results showed strong tradeoffs and scale effects on production frontiers, and more importantly substantial variation among planning areas and national forests. Prioritizing treatments to reduce fire transmission to the WUI resulted in an average harvest volume reduction of about 248m3 per ha treated. The analysis also identified opportunities where both management objectives can be achieved. This work represents the first large-scale tradeoff analysis for key management goals in forest and fuel management programs on national forests.
This study suggests that policy and management have focused primarily on specified resilience approaches aimed at resistance to wildfire and restoration of areas burned by wildfire through fire suppression and fuels management. These strategies are inadequate to address a new era of western wildfires. In contrast, policies that promote adaptive resilience to wildfire, by which people and ecosystems adjust and reorganize in response to changing fire regimes to reduce future vulnerability, are needed.
Key aspects of an adaptive resilience approach are:
- recognizing that fuels reduction cannot alter regional wildfire trends;
- targeting fuels reduction to increase adaptation by some ecosystems and residential communities to more frequent fire;
- actively managing more wild and prescribed fires with a range of severities;
- incentivizing and planning residential development to withstand inevitable wildfire.
These strategies represent a shift in policy and management from restoring ecosystems based on historical baselines to adapting to changing fire regimes and from unsustainable defense of the wildland–urban interface to developing fire-adapted communities. We propose an approach that accepts wildfire as an inevitable catalyst of change and that promotes adaptive responses by ecosystems and residential communities to more warming and wildfire.
This study used BehavePlus to model fire behavior in fuel breaks created by treating annual grasses with herbicides and releasing perennial bunch grasses. Flame height reductions of up to 90% were possible.