U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fire Science Brief, Issue 44, April 2009


US government work.


Some forest lands in the United States are overgrown with small trees and thick with fuels. Prescribed fire has been used in many forests and woodlands to reduce fuel loads and the risk of wildfi re. But forests are unique, with different soils, plants, weather, and topography. While erosion from prescribed fi re would seem to be less severe than from a wildfire, prior to this study, little data existed on erosion rates and the infl uence of prescribed fi re on erosion in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon and Washington. This study showed that hillslope erosion in the volcanic rock and ash derived soils of the study area were related to slope aspect and the amount of bare ground. Prescribed fi re had little effect, but intense storms that drive erosion did not occur during the study