Assessing Forestland Conditions After a Wildfire

Article written by: Yvonne Barkely, University of Idaho Extension, Moscow, ID


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The condition of your forestland after a wildfire should be assessed as soon as possible after the event. Fire-based forest ecosystems are extremely resilient and are supremely adapted to disturbance by fire. From a management perspective damages are defined as the unfavorable effects of fire-caused changes that make management objectives difficult to achieve or unobtainable. Benefits are the favorable effects of fire-caused changes and are factors that contribute to …

Using Barriers to Control Erosion after a Wildfire

Article Written by:
Yvonne Barkley, University of Idaho Extension, Moscow, ID



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Using barriers to control erosion after a wildfire is a common practice. Barriers are installed on hillslopes and in streams to slow water flow, increase infiltration, and trap sediment. There are several types of barriers:

  • Log barriers are anchored on the contour of burned slopes to provide immediate protection. They are often used where erosion rates will be high. This treatment is appropriate for slopes of less than 40

How to Determine Burn Severity After a Wildfire

Article Written by:
Yvonne Barkley, University of Idaho Extension, Moscow, ID



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It is important to determine the burn severity of a wildfire as many post-fire assessment and management decisions will be based on this information. Plant mortality, regeneration and reproduction are closely tied to how hot and how long a wildfire burns and will determine the make-up of post-fire plant communities. Burn severity also effects wildlife habitat, changes in the soil, erosion potential and many components of aquatic environments.


Wildfire and Water Repellent Soils

Article Written by:
Yvonne Barkley, University of Idaho Extension, Moscow, ID



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One common physical change to forest soils after wildfires is water repellency. Water repellent soils have a limited ability to retain or absorb water, which can result in increased erosion, altered substrate water recharge and quicker stream flow delivery with the increased potential for flooding. Wildfires create water repellent layers by partially volatilizing organic compounds in the soil that then condense onto cooler soil particles and form a waxy …

Erosion Control after a Wildfire

Erosion is probably one of the most common concerns after a wildfire. Post-fire erosion depends on many factors, but generally erosion hazard increases as slope increases and vegetative cover decreases. To be safe, assume all drainages in steep hilly areas can carry debris flows and that they are vulnerable after a wildfire.


Erosion is a natural process. The amount of erosion after a burn depends on storm events, burn severity, slope, soil type, and the condition of the post-fire …