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Fire Effects on Stream Ecosystem Responses in Western Oregon Watersheds

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On 7 September 2020, strong winds in western Oregon ignited and spread many small fires, leading to multiple simultaneous megafires (fires > 404 km2) that burned across multiple land ownerships. These fires burned at differing severities, resulting in a range of post-fire riparian and freshwater conditions and an opportunity to evaluate aquatic and riparian responses to fire across ownerships that vary in elevation, forest stand age, and forest-management strategies. To better understand these dynamics, the authors in this study measured riparian overstory survival, LW, and coarse wood (wood in riparian areas), as well as in-stream physical, chemical, and biological variables to fire severity and pre-fire stand age in 24 streams in western Oregon from 8-11 months following multiple fires, including the Riverside, Beachie, and Holiday Farm Fires.

This research brief was written by Brooke Penaluna, Ashley Coble, Laura Six, Jake Verschuyl, and Autumn Ellison
with review by Carrie Berger and Emily Jane Davis.