U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fire Science Brief, Issue 88, January 2010


US government work.


Large wildfires are important ecologically and economically, but their behavior and effects are not well understood, especially in the Klamath-Siskiyou region, which is characterized by a diversity of conifers and evergreen sprouting hardwoods, steep topography, variable geology, and strong climatic gradients. These studies used new analytical tools to characterize conditions before and after a large wildfire and to analyze those data across the entire landscape of the fire. Some of the general findings may apply to other forest regions, but the details may be unique to southwestern Oregon and northwestern California. The results improve our understanding of how post-fire management affects fi re risk and subsequent fi re severity in the short term (approximately 15 years), and show that previous actions can affect how future wildfires burn. However, the studies also indicate that it can be difficult to generalize trends because of the complexity of interactions among weather, vegetation, and topography.