By Jonathan R. Thompson et al
Debate over the influence of postwildfire management on future fire severity is occurring in the absence of empirical studies. We used satellite data, government agency records, and aerial photography to examine a forest landscape in southwest Oregon that burned in 1987 and then was subject, in part, to salvage-logging and conifer planting before it reburned during the 2002 Biscuit Fire. Areas that burned severely in 1987 tended to reburn at high severity in 2002, after controlling for the influence of several topographical and biophysical covariates. Areas unaffected by the initial fire tended to burn at the lowest severities in 2002. Areas that were salvage-logged and planted after the initial fire burned more severely than comparable unmanaged areas, suggesting that fuel conditions in conifer plantations can increase fire severity despite removal of large woody fuels.