There are a lot of factors that can influence the severity of a fire. Some of these factors include:
- Fuel – how dry it is, the amount and the connection across the landscape
- Weather conditions – how hot and dry it is.
One factor we may not consider is logging, and the history logging has had on our landscape. A recent study by Lindenmayer et al. (2021) has shown that logging increases the risk of high severity fires.
There are a couple of reasons as to why logging has been found to increase the severity of fire. The main reasons are:
- Logging forests tend to be younger in age and are often in a state of regeneration which means they are more flammable and susceptible to fire. Forests become less likely to burn as they mature.
- Areas that have been logged tend to have slashed debris and extra plant material increasing the amount of fuel in the area.
Part of the research Lindenmayer et al. (2021) found is that even in mild weather, previously logged forests have been found to suffer high severity bushfires compared with unlogged forests under more intense weather conditions.
This study is important for landholders to understand and know about so you can have a better understanding of your risk. Particularly if you live near a forest that is logged or if your property has been logged in the past.
For more information on this topic see the references below or contact Olivia Eglin, Fire Ecology Education Officer on email@example.com.
Reference: Lindenmayer, D., Taylor, C. and Blanchard, W. (2021). Empirical analyses of the factors influencing fire severity in southeastern Australia. Ecosphere, 12(8). doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.3721.