Fuels reduction treatments provide data to guide decision-making

by Mary Menz

The West Region Wildfire Council welcomed representatives from the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute to its meeting of area partners and homeowners last week.
CFRI’s assistant director Brett Wolk and research associate Kat Morici shared with attendees data gathered during pre- and post-forest fuels reduction efforts at Top of the Pines and three sites on Log Hill.
Forest fuels refer to all combustibles in a wooded area from the ground to the tree tops.
“We measure basically everything that can burn in an area both before treatment and after treatment,” said Wolk. “That includes surface fuels, small trees and shrubs and large trees.” Wolk said they use the data to model how an area might respond during a wildland fire.
“This helps us determine whether treatment practices match the scale and the goal of a fuels reduction forestry plan. This can be important information, especially in areas like Top of the Pines, where treatment efforts ultimately affect the health of the watershed,” explained Wolk.
Wolk emphasized repeatedly that models are imperfect due to multiple conditions that affect...

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