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severe fire behaviorSevere fire is an important component of most fire regimes in the western United States. Approximately 85% of all western US forests fall into mixed-severity fire regimes. Historically, some forests, and parts of all fires, burned with high severity, creating a complex mosaic across the landscape. Severe fires play an essential role in the ecology of mixed-conifer forests by creating unique conditions that many plant and animal species have evolved to depend on. However, contemporary fire management is often focused on the exclusion of severe fire, and many debate about the need for severe fires into the future.

Resources listed here contain the most recent and applicable information on this issue.

Wildfires may burn with lower severity when they burn where prior fires have burned recently. For more information, see our Effects of Repeated Fires hot topic.

This hot topic was developed in partnership with the University of Idaho.