n. Woody tissue damage resulting from fire-caused partial mortality of a tree’s or shrub’s cambium layer.
Fire scars, which can be individual or multiple scars contained in a large basal wound known as a tree “catface,” are produced by lethal heating of a portion of a tree’s cambium layer. After the fire, the damaged cambium generally sloughs off within a few years, and the tree attempts to cover the wound with new radial growth. Such wounds can remain open (unhealed) as a result of repeated fires or subsequent decay, but some fire scars heal completely over, leaving “buried scars” deep within the tree. For further discussion, see the Multilingual Glossary of Dendrochronology (1995).
The term fire scar has also been used in reference to the visible effects of a fire on a landscape, such as those caused by tree mortality in the burned area.