A retrospective assessment of fuel break effectiveness for containing rangeland wildfires in the sagebrush biome

Journal article icon

View article.

Fuel breaks were least successful in areas classified as having low resilience to disturbance and low resistance to invasion, in areas composed of primarily woody fuels, and when operating in high temperature and low precipitation conditions. Fuel breaks were most effective in areas where fine fuels dominated and in areas that were readily accessible. Maintenance history and fuel break type also contributed to the probability of containment. Overall results indicate a complex and sometimes paradoxical relationship between landscape characteristics that promote wildfire spread and those that impact fuel break effectiveness. Finally, we developed predictive maps of fuel break effectiveness by fuel break type to further elucidate these complex relationships and to inform urgently needed fuel break placement and maintenance priorities across the sagebrush biome.

Stay Connected