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Forest fuel is combustible biomass—everything from needles and twigs to shrubs, downed trees, and logs. Wildland fire managers reduce and rearrange fuel to reduce the probability of forest fires. Fuel treatments include thinning, prescribed burning, pruning, and mowing. A combination of treatments works best. Fuel treatments generally target dry forests.
Oregon's wildfire landscape is clouded by the mix of public and private interests that control more than 30 million acres. Forests make up nearly half of Oregon, and most forests fall under federal management. Forest ownership factors into both the number of fires and the size to which they grow.
This publication describers a case study of prescribed underburning on a private woodland in southwest Oregon. It is part of the "Alternative Silvilculture" series and is a companion publication to Mixed Conifer and Hardwood Management in Southwest Oregon (EM 9084).
Fire severity is a measure of the effects of fire on the environment—both in damage to vegetation and impacts on the soil. Fire severity is driven by weather conditions, the topography of the landscape, and the fuels that are present. Of these, weather is the overriding factor.