Catastrophic fire can be defined from three different perspectives: economic (the cost of damage), social (how it is viewed by the public), and ecological (biological effects of the fire) (Carey and Schumann, 2003). Covington and Moore (1994) defined catastrophic fire as a fire that kills a majority of the trees in the canopy in the ponderosa pine type or in any dry forest that was, in presettlement times, subject to frequent surface fires.

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