This is a guest post from Derek Weidensee
If Derek Weidensee were writing for academic journals, he would probably title these photos the above. But he calls them “clearcuts don’t burn.”
Look at photo-39. It’s my attempt at objective reporting. It’s a clearcut that burned. You can see the burned part to the left of the green island. Of course, in 85% of the cases the fire stopped at the edge-stark contrast like-but where it did burn into the regen it soon dropped to the ground and piddled out.
(photo 39 is below)
I’ve spent the last four years photographing the phenomenon on 8 Montana wildfires. The “green islands” are regenerated clearcuts 20-40 years old. They are all of the 2008 Rat Creek fire and the 2000 Mussingbrod fire both west of Wisdom Montana.
If you’re into “google earth”, you can see the location and also another “striking visual” of the Phenomenon by typing the following latitude and Longitude into the “fly too” box. “45 44 56.65N, 113 44 10.71W”. Also try 45 41 34.44N, 113 45 13.15W.
I think you’ll find them interesting. In light of the MPB epidemic, I think it goes a long ways towards answering the question “does salvage logging mitigate fire hazard”. I’m certainly not saying you need to clearcut it all, but there is research that shows “strategically placed” salvage clearcuts on 20-30% of the project area can limit the spread of the fire.
The following is a link to all the research I’ve found regarding the clearcuts don’t burn phenomenon.