Wildland Fire Management: Are actively managed forests more resilient than passively managed forests?

Large areas of federal lands in the western states are currently at high risk of severe wildfire and have many insect and disease problems, indicating a significant decline in forest health and resilience. Although research studies have not been done that would measure whether actively managed forests are more resilient to wildfires than passively managed forests, results from studies of hazardous fuels treatment effectiveness and the economic benefits from avoided costs of future wildfire suppression due to fuels treatment can be used to support an affirmative reply to the question. If a forest management project includes hazardous fuels treatments at a sufficiently large scale, placed strategically so that there is a high likelihood that future fire behavior would be modified under all but the most severe weather conditions, then economic benefits from avoided costs of future fire suppression can be sufficient to justify investments needed to implement the fuels treatments.

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