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A spatial analysis of fire history across adjacent watersheds
Presented by Laura MARSHALL on 16 May 2013 from 13:00 to 13:20
Type: Oral Presentation
Session: Fire Ecology III
Track: Fire ecology
Recent extreme wildfires have grown larger and burned more severely in forests adapted to frequent, low-severity fire. To investigate the spatial fuel-topography linkages which may influence extreme wildfire size, we reconstructed fire history using fire-scarred trees in a ponderosa pine forest in Black Canyon/Little Tesuque Watershed, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, New Mexico. We compared fire intervals, spatial patterns of major and minor fire years, and past climate to fire history from the adjacent Santa Fe Watershed. The Santa Fe Watershed, a major source of drinking water for the city of Santa Fe, NM, has been managed extensively to reduce fire risk, while less treatment has occurred in surrounding areas. We examined the fire history of the two watersheds and found similar fire intervals in each. Synchronous fire across watersheds is common in widespread fire years, potentially indicating the need for management at larger scales to reduce fire risk to natural resources.