Type of Resources
A key restoration focus is the mitigation and prevention of intense wildfires. This is done using a regularly prescribed fire regime and forest thinning practices to reduce surface fuel loads. Prediction of fuel loads at the forest floor is pivotal when assessing the hazard level a forest fire may present. Scientists already have much data correlating fuel characteristics to fire effects and behavior. However, links between montane climate variability and relative effects on fuel load characteristics have not been extensively explored in the Front Range and southwestern Colorado. This study system was uniquely located along a North-South monsoonal gradient and encompasses variable aspects, slopes, and elevations, providing topographic differences within the species’ range in Colorado. This research resampled forest fuels in old-growth ponderosa pine forest plots initially taken in 1994 (Robertson & Bowser, 1999). Additionally, we analyzed FIA (forest inventory and analysis) fuel type datasets. To accomplish this, we used two different scales: 1) a 1994-2021 coarse woody debris resample and 2) a large-scale analysis of Colorado’s downed woody material from forest inventory and analysis (FIA) datasets.