Effect of livestock grazing and fire history on fuel load in sagebrush-steppe

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We examined the effect of livestock grazing and previous wildfire events on fuel load in southeastern Idaho as part of a wildfire risk-livestock interaction study. Fuel load was estimated using ordinal fuel load classes at 128 sample sites stratified by current livestock grazing and documented wildfire occurrence (1939-2000). Fifty-nine percent of previous wildfire sites had a documented fire within the past 2 years. Livestock grazing was the most effective means to reduce fuel load compared to recent wildfire and livestock grazing with previous wildfire. Livestock grazing provides a viable management tool for fuel load reduction prescriptions that avoids the negative effect of extreme fire intensity where fuel load is high.

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