What is “dead fall” and how can it contribute to wildfire intensity and spread?
Have you wondered why foresters seem concerned in the aftermath of a storm about dead fall? Have you wondered what they mean by the use of the term, dead fall? Dead fall according to Webster's Dictionary is; “a tangled mass of fallen trees and branches.” Large amounts of dead fall accumulates after large storms including tornadoes and hurricanes. One recent example of a brush fire occurring in the aftermath of a storm can be seen in recent reports of a brush fire after Hurricane Matthew in South Carolina. Dead fall can contribute to the amount of fuel in the understory of forested areas and around homes in wildland-urban interface areas. Neighbors working together to clean up debris such as branches and leaves from around their homes after a storm as soon as it is deemed safe to do so, can help their communities also fare better in the event of a wildfire. From the Ogden City Fire Department Facebook page, on May 4th, 2016, the fire department described how they worked together with others to clean up dead fall from their community. “Ogden City would like to thank the community for their dedication in helping with the cleanup of debris from last week's wind event. City crews are working diligently to clean up debris on public property and restore the city to its pre-wind event state.”