Skip to main content
Western Spruce Budworm and Wildfire: Is There a Connection?
Fire Management Today
  • Daniel G. Gavin, University of Oregon
  • Aquila Flower, Western Washington University
  • Greg M. Cohn, H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest (Or.)
  • Russell A. Parsons, Forestry Sciences Laboratory (Missoula, Mont.)
  • Emily K. Heyerdahl, Forestry Sciences Laboratory (Missoula, Mont.)
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Western spruce budworm,
  • WSB,
  • Relationship of WSB outbreaks and fire

In the interior Pacific Northwest, extensive defoliation of mixed conifer forests during outbreaks of western spruce budworm (WSB) may leave the visual impression of a tinderbox with trees primed to burst into flame. But is this the case?

We addressed this question with funding from the USDA/U.S. Department of the Interior Joint Fire Science Program (project 09– 1–06–5). Here we summarize our three recent publications exploring the potential relationship between WSB outbreaks and fire. We used a multimethod approach to explore potential disturbance interactions that might cause one disturbance to change the occurrence or severity of the other. We used tree-ring records to see whether WSB and fire are related in time and computer modeling to see how defoliation could affect crown fire behavior.

Subjects - Topical (LCSH)
Western spruce budworm--Northwest, Pacific; Wildfires--Northwest, Pacific--Prevention and control; Trees--Diseases and pests; Fire risk assessment--Northwest, Pacific
Geographic Coverage
Northwest, Pacific
Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.
Citation Information
Daniel G. Gavin, Aquila Flower, Greg M. Cohn, Russell A. Parsons, et al.. "Western Spruce Budworm and Wildfire: Is There a Connection?" Fire Management Today Vol. 75 Iss. 2 (2017) p. 12 - 16
Available at: