U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fire Science Brief, Issue 131, April 2011


US government work.


Fire helps reduce dead and accumulated vegetation and enriches the soil by releasing nutrients bound in litter. But when fuel loads are too high and wildfi res burn too hot, problems may arise. A perfect example of this is the 2003 Booth and Bear Butte (B&B) fire in central Oregon, which consumed more than 90,000 acres of mixed conifer forest. On the surface, the effects on trees and vegetation seemed obvious, but what about the wildfi re effects on what we don’t see? How do post-fi re management activities support or impede forest recovery? Furthermore, how were the soils, and essential underground ecosystem, affected? To help provide necessary answers and better understand the effects of salvage logging, sub-soiling, and fire severity on soil microbial communities and properties, vegetation, and forest recovery, researchers conducted two interrelated studies in the B&B Fire Complex area. This project was developed in response to the concerns of forest and resource managers with the intention of using the study results to fi ne-tune postfire treatment methods and speed the forest recovery process.