New study from Oregon State. From the press release:
Researchers in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University used satellite imagery and local data to analyze the factors driving differences of severity in the fire, which burned about 50,000 acres north of Grants Pass. Located in the Klamath Mountains ecoregion, the area is dominated by Douglas fir, ponderosa pine and white fir and is a mix of private and federal ownership and state-owned O&C (Oregon & California Railroad) lands.
While daily weather was the most significant driver of fire severity, the researchers found that other factors such as ownership, forest age and topography were also critical. Intensively managed private forestlands tended to burn with greater severity than older state and federal forests. The findings are important because they point to the need for collaboration among landowners, both public and private, to reduce the wildfire risk across the region.
Some caveats: This was one fire in a unique region. The fires started in older federal forests and wind drove them across property lines.
And as the authors note, “There is strong scientific agreement that fire suppression has increased the probability of high severity fire in many fire-prone landscapes (Miller et al. 2009, Calkin et al. 2015, Reilly et al. 2017), and thinning as well as the reintroduction of fire as an ecosystem process are critical to reducing fire severity and promoting ecosystem resilience and adaptive capacity (Agee and Skinner 2005, Raymond and Peterson 2005, Earles et al. 2014, Krofcheck et al. 2017).”