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Karen Kopper Karen Kopper
Ph.D. Student
Fire & Mountain Ecology Lab
2006 - present

Phone: (206) 543-9138
Email: kkopper @ u.washington.edu 


Degrees:

  M.S., Ecosystems Analysis (2002)
  University of Washington, Seattle, WA

  B.S., General Biology, Botany Minor
  Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA

Curriculum Vitae (Microsoft Word document)

Fire Frequency and Severity in Stehekin, Washington

Wildfires and fire management activities are on the rise in the Douglas-fir / Ponderosa pine forests of Stehekin, North Cascades National Park. In 2006 the Flick Creek wildfire burned 7900 acres of this watershed, including two of the eight high priority prescribed fire units described in the 2005 Fire Management Plan. Resource and fire managers recognize the importance of protecting the remote Stehekin community from wildfire through the implementation of this new plan, and the need to achieve desirable fire effects within the adjacent wilderness. My doctoral research on the historic fire frequency and severity will greatly facilitate this aim. Without which, managers have had to rely on expert opinion and the results of studies from other forests, despite their differences, to plan for, predict, and manage fire within its desired range of effects, and with respect to its historic frequency.

The goal of my research is to determine the severity and historical fire frequency of various forest groups based on structure, species composition, aspect and elevation. I will perform stand reconstructions and collect and interpret fire scar data in order to determine the historic fire frequency of the forest groups. Concurrently, the effects of fire on these same forest groups will be evaluated by comparing burned areas within the Flick Creek fire perimeter to adjacent unburned areas. During the 2007 field season the burn severity of the forest groups within the Flick Creek fire perimeter was assessed. Additionally, a remotely sensed burn severity image of the fire developed by the National Park Service U.S. Geological Survey National Burn Severity Mapping Project was assessed for accuracy with Composite Burn Index protocols.