The Lake Fire: Wildfire's impact on forest regrowth and carbon sinks in the San Bernardino National Forest

Fernando Hernandez, 2022, Environmental Science and Spatial Studies Minor

The 2015 Lake Fire that burned over 31,359 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest is one of many examples of the increasingly severe and frequent wildfires that have plagued the Southern California region over the past decades. Forests are a main source of significant global carbon sinks and as such, currently have the uptake potential to sequester carbon from the atmosphere as a possible solution to stabilize global climate change. Recent trends reveal a strong association between anomalous fire weather and extreme fire behavior due to anthropogenic climate change, which creates conditions that shift areas from sinks into carbon sources that are exacerbated within a positive feedback loop, hindering the forest’s ability to fully recover and develop mature trees that can again maximize this sequestration of carbon. This presentation focuses on visualizing a Difference Normalized Burn Ratio of the affected Lake Fire area measuring its severity, visualizing the amount of carbon lost from the fire, and visualizing the number of dead trees as an addition to an EVST Honors Capstone paper.