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Chaparral is More Prone to Serious Fire than Tall Trees

California Chaparral Institute on chaparral wildfires

doc-titleFire & Nature
quoteBeing dense, impenetrable, and prone to infrequent, huge wildfires is the natural condition of chaparral (it's not the fault of past fire suppression, "unnatural" amounts of vegetation, or environmental laws). ... Chaparral has a high-severity, crown fire regime, meaning when a fire burns it burns everything, frequently leaving behind an ashen moonscape. This is in contrast to a "surface fire regime" found in dry Ponderosa pine forests in the southwest where fires typically burn at mixed-severity, frequently leaving patches of trees with only surface fire scars. ... If all these fires that occur in California on a regular basis aren't forest fires, what are they? California wildfires are typically shrubland fires and have nothing to with trees. Surprising to many is the fact that forests only comprised about 5 percent of the total acreage burned during the 2003 firestorm in Southern California.
sourceCalifornia Chaparral Institute