Fire is an important disturbance in riparian systems—consuming vegetation; increasing light;creating snags and debris flows; altering habitat structure; and affecting stream conditions, erosion, andhydrology. For many years, land managers have worked to keep fire out of riparian systems through theuse of buffers. A number of projects funded by the Joint Fire Science Program are shedding light onthe dynamics of fire in riparian systems. Recent research and field practice have shown that (1) ripariantreatments can be beneficial and are not as risky as previously thought; and (2) riparian treatmentsneed the “Goldilocks” prescribed fire—not too hot and not too cold—to be beneficial.
McDaniel J. Fire, Fuels, and Streams: The Effects and Effectiveness of Riparian Treatments.; 2015.