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Did Prescribed-Fire Treatments Moderate Effects of the 2015 Rough Fire on Giant Sequoias in Grant Grove, Kings Canyon National Park?
11:00 AM - 11:20 AM
Tue Nov 28, 2017
Pindo B


Authors: Anthony C. Caprio

In 2015, the 61,000 ha Rough Fire burned into the Grant Grove of giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in Kings Canyon National Park, affecting areas both treated and untreated with prescribed fire. Using preexisting surveyed stem maps and associated tree data for most sequoias within the grove, a comparison was made of fire effects relative to differences between treated (burned twice with last burn entry in 2005) versus untreated areas. Total fuel loads were generally similar between burned and unburned areas but fuel composition varied (CWD vs L/D) while tree density differed greatly (84 vs 455 trees ha-1). Postfire tree mortality, a result of crown scorch, was related to fire severity, and severity was greater in areas without prescribed fire treatments. Within unburned treatments, 11% of the monarch sequoias (>120 cm dbh) were killed (including trees up to 564 cm dbh) and 50% of intermediate trees (60 to 120 cm). No mortality occurred in these size classes in treated areas. In contrast, in the <60 cm dbh class, mortality was about 70% in treated and 80% in untreated areas. The results indicate that prescribed fire treatments moderated impacts of the Rough Fire as it burned into the grove.

Tony Caprio
Fire Ecologist, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

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