USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW) Study Shows How Fuel Treatments Improve Wildfire Outcomes

PSW researchers recently published findings that provide strong evidence for the use of fuel treatments to mitigate fire behavior and resulting fire severity even under extreme fire weather conditions. When the 2021 Antelope Fire tore through the Goosenest Adaptive Management Area (long-term research plots set up in northeastern California in the late 1990s), it seemed that 20 years worth of research had been lost. However, shortly after the fire a 2,300-acre study was conducted that demonstrates how reducing canopy bulk density via mechanical thinning treatments can help to limit crown fire behavior for 20 years or more. The findings make a compelling case for doing both tree thinning and prescribed burning to protect forests in the future.