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Publications DistributionRocky Mountain Research Station240 West Prospect RoadFort Collins, CO 80526
Peter R. Robichaud
is a Research Engineer with the Air, Wa-tershed, and Aquatics Science Program at the Rocky MountainResearch Station’s Forestry Sciences Laboratory in Moscow,Idaho. He develops and implements research protocols for measuring and predicting post-fire runoff and erosion andpost-fire treatment effectiveness.
Louise E. Ashmun
is a Civil Engineer with the Air, Watershed,and Aquatics Science Program at the Rocky Mountain ResearchStation’s Forestry Sciences Laboratory in Moscow, Idaho. Sheprovides technical support for research and technology transfer on grant-funded projects.
Bruce D. Sims
is the Regional Hydrologist for the NorthernRegion of the USDA Forest Service in Missoula, Montana.His duties include oversight of the Burned Area EmergencyResponse (BAER) program for the Region.Robichaud, Peter R.; Ashmun, Louise E.; Sims, Bruce D. 2010.
Post-fire treatment effectiveness for hill-slope stabilization
. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-240. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture,Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 62 p.
This synthesis of post-fire treatment effectiveness reviews the past decade of research, monitoring, andproduct development related to post-fire hillslope emergency stabilization treatments, including erosion barri-ers, mulching, chemical soil treatments, and combinations of these treatments. In the past ten years, erosionbarrier treatments (contour-felled logs and straw wattles) have declined in use and are now rarely appliedas a post-fire hillslope treatment. In contrast, dry mulch treatments (agricultural straw, wood strands, woodshreds, etc.) have quickly gained acceptance as effective, though somewhat expensive, post-fire hillslopestabilization treatments and are frequently recommended when values-at-risk warrant protection. This changehas been motivated by research that shows the proportion of exposed mineral soil (or conversely, the propor-tion of ground cover) to be the primary treatment factor controlling post-fire hillslope erosion. Erosion barrier treatments provide little ground cover and have been shown to be less effective than mulch, especially duringshort-duration, high intensity rainfall events. In addition, innovative options for producing and applying mulchmaterials have adapted these materials for use on large burned areas that are inaccessible by road. Althoughlonger-term studies on mulch treatment effectiveness are on-going, early results and short-term studies haveshown that dry mulches can be highly effective in reducing post-fire runoff and erosion. Hydromulches havebeen used after some fires, but they have been less effective than dry mulches in stabilizing burned hillslopesand generally decompose or degrade within a year.
BAER, contour-felled logs, hydromulch, LEB, straw mulch, PAM, wood shreds, wood strands
This synthesis project (Project Number 08-2-1-10) wasfunded by the Joint Fire Sciences Program, a collaborativebetween the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Departmentof Agriculture, Forest Service that supports fire research. Muchof the research reported herein was funded wholly or in partby the Joint Fire Sciences Program. We are indebted to our reviewers: Jeff Bruggink, Chris Holbeck, Carolyn Napper, andWayne Robbie. They all have wide-ranging experience onpost-fire assessment teams, and their comments significantlyimproved this document and the companion web page (http://forest.moscowfsl.wsu.edu/BAERTOOLS/HillslopeTrt). Wespecifically recognize and thank John Moody, who provided athorough review of the draft document and made suggestionsthat greatly enhanced the focus, content, and organization of this synthesis.