Wildland fire in Eastern Oregon and Washington
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Wildland fire is a major disturbance agent that shapes the forest health, productivity, and ecological diversity of eastern Oregon and Washington, USA. Fire behaviour and the effects of fire on flora, fauna, soils, air, and water are in large part driven by the availability of fuels to consume and the meteorological influences during a fire. Vegetation succession, disturbance processes, and management practices have resulted in an increase of fuels and vulnerability to extreme fire behaviour and detrimental fire effects. Hazards of fire are further increased by encroachment of dwellings into forests and rangelands. Prescribed fire, selective logging, and mechanical fuel treatment are being used to reduce fire hazard, but there is disagreement as to appropriate balance and efficacy of these actions. New tools to (1) characterize fuelbeds; (2) predict mesoscale meteorology, fire behaviour, fire effects, smoke production, and dispersal; and (3) demonstrate tradeoffs between prescribed fire and other fuel treatment methods are continually being improved to assist with wildland fire and prescribed fire decision making in eastern Oregon and Washington.