U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fire Science Brief, Issue 58, July 2009


US government work.


Wildland fi re is the dominant disturbance force in the boreal forests of Alaska which cover about 114 million acres of the south-central and interior regions of the state. Fire in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) is an exceptionally daunting concern as a high percentage of Alaskans live in outlying rural areas and settlements. Fire hazard is growing as communities continue to expand into isolated locations surrounded by highly fl ammable black spruce. To address this concern, researchers developed the fi rst shaded fuel break demonstration sites specifi cally designed for use in the WUI. They compared the effectiveness, environmental impacts and costs of four fuel thinning treatments, and found that widely spaced thinning carried some signifi cant trade-offs, including increased fi re spread rates and permafrost deterioration.