Wildfire plays an important role in the life of a healthy forest. In areas where humans intervene in this process by suppressing wildfires, dead wood and debris builds up. This decreases the forest’s health and increases its flammability.
If there is an excess of forest fuels (dead woody debris) on the ground it can cause wildfires that are unnaturally intense, which can be devastating to the forest and surrounding human interests.
Manually removing forest fuels from the ground, spacing out crowded and suppressed juvenile stems and pruning “ladder fuel” branches from the lower canopy can significantly reduce the risk of a high intensity wildfire in the event of ignition.
When conducted properly, fuel treatment operations will not only reduce fuel loading, but achieve the same benefits to the remaining forest of a natural, low-intensity ground-fire. This helps to create larger, healthier trees.