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The Northwest Fire Science Consortium works to accelerate the awareness, understanding, and adoption of wildland fire science. We connect managers, practitioners, scientists, and local communities and collaboratives working on fire issues on forest and range lands in Washington and Oregon.

Learn more about NWFSC...

JFSP Regions


NWFSC is one of
fifteen regional exchanges
sponsored by the Joint Fire Science Program.

Hot Topics

Cross-boundary wildfire and community exposure: A framework and application in the western U.S.

Authored by A. Ager; Published 2019

In this report we provide a framework for assessing cross-boundary wildfire exposure and a case study application in the western U.S. The case study provides detailed mapping and tabular decision support materials for prioritizing fuel management investments aimed at reducing wildfire exposure to communities located proximal to national forests. The work was motivated by a number of factors, including a request from U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary James Hubbard (Natural Resources and Environment) to assess community wildfire risk specifically from Forest Service lands, language in the 2018 omnibus bill (Public Law 115-141) calling for a national assessment of wildfire risk to communities, and newer shared stewardship initiatives (Clavet 2018). We used national FSim simulation outputs to (1) estimate cross-boundary wildfire among major land types (Federal, State, private); (2) quantify structure exposure to all western communities; (3) map sources of community wildfire exposure (firesheds); (4) characterize firesheds in terms of management opportunity and fuels; and (5) prioritize communities based on integration of exposure and fireshed characteristics. The study revealed that 1,812 communities in the western U.S. could potentially be significantly impacted by future wildfires (more than 1 structure per year on average). Ignitions on national forest lands will most likely affect 516 of these 1,812 communities (more than one structure per year on average). Of the total exposure, ignitions on national forest lands will expose an estimated 4,000 structures (21 percent of total) in the western U.S. per year on average. Due to administrative restrictions on national forest lands, only about half of the total exposure from national forest lands (2,200 structures) originates on lands where mechanical treatments and prescribed fire are either allowed or ecologically appropriate. The framework can guide future efforts aimed at quantifying community and other cross-boundary exposure situations, and the outputs can be used to help identify shared stewardship projects, and prioritize fuel and other management activities within public land management agencies.

Oregon Smoke Management Plan Update

Webinar from Northwest Fire Science Consortium & Oregon Department of Forestry

Nick Yonker, Oregon Department of Forestry, presents the updates to the Oregon Smoke Management Plan. Watch the video on our YouTube channel.

NWFSC Fire Facts: What are? Parts of a Wildfire

Authored by N.Fire Scien Consortium; Published 2019

There are many parts of a wildfire and wildland firefighters use specific terminology to describe each part. Fire Facts: What are? Parts of a Wildfire

2019 Fall Cascadia Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX)

Cascadia TREX will be based out of Cle Elum, WA from September 29th to October 11th, with burning conducted throughout Central Cascade Mountains in Washington. The two-week program facilitates peer-to-peer learning for those interested in advancing their understanding of prescribed fire.


Applications are due by Monday, August 12th.


The announcement is attached. More information and to apply at waprescribedifre.org/trex

Pacific Northwest Forest Collaborative Workshop

Workshop Event from Sustainable Northwest and NWFSC

More details coming soon!

Washington Forest Collaborative Summit

Event from Sustainable NW and NWFSC

The Eastern Washington Collaborative Exchange will be held Tuesday, November 5th in the same location. More details to come!

To Masticate or Not: Useful Tips for Treating Forest, Woodland, and Shrubland Vegetation

Authored by T. Jain; Published 2019

Forest managers use mastication to grind or shed vegetation to remove competition, prepare a site for natural or artificial regeneration, or release sapling-sized trees; or they use mastication to convert ladder fuels to surface fuels and enhance decomposition of biomass. However, determining the best mastication configuration within the context of management objectives and site limitations is challenging. This report synthesizes our current knowledge on mastication as a forest management tool. We found that excavators, skid steers, and tractors can all be carrier machines and different types of vertical and horizontal cutting heads exist that can be front-end mounted or boom mounted, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. We provide a summary on the ecological effects from mastication. We found that there were several studies on plant and soil impacts, but limited information on impacts to wildlife habitat. Although costs of mastication widely vary depending on machine size, the physical setting, size and configuration of pre-treatment biomass, and operator skill, mastication does have market and non-market benefits. Depending on the management objective, if mastication is an option, then a thorough site evaluation should consider slope, nonnative species invasions, vulnerability of soils to erode or compact, and treatment costs.