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Lessons from the October 2003. Wildfires in Southern California

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The Southern California fires of late Oct. 2003 burned 742,000 ac and destroyed 3,361 homes and 26 lives. Factors leading up to this event were very different between forests, which comprised about 5% of the area burned, and shrublands. Three lessons are (1) although these fires were massive, they were not unprecedented, and future fires of this magnitude are to be expected; (2) the current fire management policy is not effective at preventing these massive fires; and (3) future developments need to plan for these natural fire events much the same way we currently incorporate engineering solutions to earthquakes and other natural catastrophes.

Keywords: Santa Ana winds; environmental management; firestorm; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; fuel mosaics; historical fires; natural resource management; natural resources; policy

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Western Ecologi-cal Research Center, Sequoia-Kings Canyon Field Station US Geological Survey Three Rivers CA 93271 and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of California Los Angeles CA 90095 jon_, Email: 2: Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology, and Evolution University of California Los Angeles CA 90095 3: Ecosystem Sciences Division, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management Department University of California Berkeley CA 94720

Publication date: 2004-10-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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