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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.

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Highlighted Resources for:
 
NWFSC provides resources for landowners
NWFSC provides resources for land managers
NWFSC provides resources for scientists
NWFSC provides resources for collaborative groups

Hot Topic

Authors J.D. Bates ; Published 2014

The decrease in fire activity has been recognized as a main cause of expansion of North American woodlands. Piñon-juniper habitat in the western United States has expanded in area nearly 10-fold since the late 1800s. Woodland control measures using chainsaws, heavy equipment, and prescribed fire are used to restore sagebrush steppe plant communities. We compared vegetation recovery following cutting and prescribed fire on three sites in late Phase 2 (mid succession) and Phase 3 (late succession) western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook.) woodlands in southeast Oregon. Treatments were partial cutting followed by fall broadcast burning (SEP); clear-cut and leave (CUT); and clear-cut and burn in early winter (JAN), late winter (MAR), and spring (APR); and untreated controls. Cover and density of herbaceous, shrub, and tree layers were measured. Five years after treatment, perennial bunchgrasses dominated two sites and co-dominated, with invasive annual grasses, at one site. Except for Sandberg blue-grass (Poa secunda J. Presl), cover and density of bunchgrasses, perennial and annual forbs, and annual grasses increased following treatments at all three sites and were greater than in controls. At each site, shrub, herbaceous, and ground cover response variables equalized or had begun to converge among treatments during the fourth or fifth year following application. SEP and APR treatments were mostly effective at reducing fuel sizes up to and including 1000-hr fuels while JAN and MAR treatments only consumed 1-hr and 10-hr fuels. Winter burning treatments (JAN, MAR) and the CUT treatments did not kill small junipers and seedlings and require additional tree control for sites to fully recover to functional sagebrush-herbaceous plant communities. The results demonstrate that juniper treatments are needed to recover sagebrush steppe plant communities.

Authors H.E. Wright ; Published 2014

Forest fires have been the bane of forest managers, resource analysts, and the public ever since the timberlands of the Great Lakes area and the western mountains were opened for exploitation or designated for preservation. The psychological stage was set during the early years of commercial timber cutting, when escaped slash fires burned several towns to the ground, killed thousands of people, and destroyed the young regeneration and remnants of uncut forest on literally millions of acres. Whether the forest was to be cut for timber or set aside for preservation as a natural feature, it was assumed that fires were destructive and should be prevented at all costs. Laws were passed to require the disposal of slash by safe methods in timbered areas, but insufficient care was used and fires continued to escape....

Authors A.L. Waldron ; Published 2015 ; URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF13212

A quantitative approach was adopted to explore facets of mindfulness and self-compassion in relation to their ability to predict crewmembers’ perceptions of their supervisors’ leadership capabilities. The sample comprised 43 wildland fire crews consisting of their primary supervisors (n = 43) and crewmembers (n = 246). A partial least-squares path modelling approach was employed to test hypotheses regarding the relationships among mindfulness, self-compassion and leadership. Findings revealed that supervisor scores on mindfulness were significant predictors of crewmember-rated scores of supervisor leadership. Although not as strong, aspects of self-compassion were also significant predictors of perceived supervisor leadership. Unlike mindfulness, the aspects of self-compassion that predicted supervisor leadership were more varied between desirable self-compassion scores and undesirable self-compassion scores. Overall, the results indicate that mindfulness and self-compassion were predictors of desired wildland fire leadership by crewmembers; these results suggest potential functions that mindfulness and self-compassion could serve in the development of leaders in wildland firefighting.

Kerry Kemp, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Idaho, will present her research on the patterns of post-fire regeneration of tree species across gradients in elevation, latitude, aspect, and burn severity in dry-mixed conifer forests of the US Northern Rockies burned 5 to 13 years prior. Kemp's research investigated specifically, how different landscape characteristics (e.g., topography, elevation) interacted with legacies of the fire environment (e.g., burn severity, patch size, canopy cover) to influence where trees regenerate following large, mixed-severity fires.

The kickoff topic for this Network of Fire Science Champions call will be Ushering in a New Age of Wildland Fuel Science presented by Bob Keane, Research Ecologist, Missoula Fire Sciences Lab. Bob will talk about his new book, Wildland Fuels Fundamentals and Applications, its content and organization, key messages, and why he wrote it. This will be followed by a round robin where participants share resources with each other.

Learn more about the Network of Fire Science Champions calls.

This year's Washington Prescribed Fire Council Conference (WPFCC) will focus on training, certification, and expertise. The Conference will be held at the Tiera Learning Center in Leavenworth, WA. 

The conference will start Tuesday evening with a welcome social. Wednesday will be a full day of scheduled talks and workshops, and Thursday will be scheduled talks and workshops until noon. A Steering Committee Meeting will be held after the conference on Thursday afternoon.

 

Webinar from Northwest Fire Science Consortium

Jessica Halofsky presents Fire severity and post-fire vegetation recovery in riparian areas of the Biscuit and B&B fires, Oregon


Recorded January 26th


Watch the webinar on our YouTube channel!

 

Register HERE

Event from Oregon State University

This workshop will define and explore the “silviculture continuum” in western Oregon forests. Speakers from academia and various private and public forest managers will speak on the span of silviculture treatments and approaches they use from short rotation silviculture to treatments that create middle-aged and older forests comprised of a mix of values. A primary emphasis of this workshop is to discuss the options and outcomes that various silvicultural strategies provide.

For more information or to register: http://www.forestry.org/oregon/Workshops/Silviculture2015/

Authors A.D. Syphard ; Published 2015

The increasing extent of wildfires has prompted investigation into alternative fire management approaches to complement the traditional strategies of fire suppression and fuels manipulation. Wildfire prevention through ignition reduction is an approach with potential for success, but ignitions result from a variety of causes. If some ignition sources result in higher levels of area burned, then ignition prevention programmes could be optimised to target these distributions in space and time. We investigated the most common ignition causes in two southern California sub-regions, where humans are responsible for more than 95% of all fires, and asked whether these causes exhibited distinct spatial or intra-annual temporal patterns, or resulted in different extents of fire in 10–29-year periods, depending on sub-region. Different ignition causes had distinct spatial patterns and those that burned the most area tended to occur in autumn months. Both the number of fires and area burned varied according to cause of ignition, but the cause of the most numerous fires was not always the cause of the greatest area burned. In both sub-regions, power line ignitions were one of the top two causes of area burned: the other major causes were arson in one sub-region and power equipment in the other. Equipment use also caused the largest number of fires in both sub-regions. These results have important implications for understanding why, where and how ignitions are caused, and in turn, how to develop strategies to prioritise and focus fire prevention efforts. Fire extent has increased tremendously in southern California, and because most fires are caused by humans, ignition reduction offers a potentially powerful management strategy, especially if optimised to reflect the distinct spatial and temporal distributions in different ignition causes.

Authors S.A. Parks ; Published 2013 ; URL: http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/44942

 Wildland fire is an important natural process in many ecosystems. However, fire exclusion has reduced frequency of fire and area burned in many dry forest types, which may affect vegetation structure and composition, and potential fire behavior. In forests of the western U.S., these effects pose a challenge for fire and land managers who seek to restore the ecological process of fire to ecosystems. Recent research suggests that landscapes with unaltered fire regimes are more ‘‘self-regulating’’ than those that have experienced fire-regime shifts; in self-regulating systems, fire size and severity are moderated by the effect of previous fire. To determine if burn severity is moderated in areas that recently burned, we analyzed 117 wildland fires in 2 wilderness areas in the western U.S. that have experienced substantial recent fire activity. Burn severity was measured using a Landsat satellite-based metric at a 30-m resolution. We evaluated (1) whether pixels that burned at least twice since 1984 experienced lower burn severity than pixels that burned once, (2) the relationship between burn severity and fire history, pre-fire vegetation, and topography, and (3) how the moderating effect of a previous fire decays with time. Results show burn severity is significantly lower in areas that have recently burned compared to areas that have not. This effect is still evident at around 22 years between wildland fire events. Results further indicate that burn severity generally increases with time since and severity of previous wildfire. These findings may assist land managers to anticipate the consequences of allowing fires to burn and provide rationale for using wildfire as a ‘‘fuel treatment’’.

In the summer of 1910, hundreds of wildfires raged across the Northern Rockies. By the time it was all over, more than three million acres had burned and at least 78 firefighters were dead. It was the largest fire in American history. "Big Burn" premieres February 3, 2015 on PBS American Experience.

This webinar is designed to help woodland owners, foresters and their tax advisors prepare for the filing of their 2014 federal tax returns. In addition to providing useful tax tips and covering the latest changes to tax law, the webinar will also cover these important issues: tax deductions, timber income reporting, 1099-S filing, basis, loss, and the filing of Form T.

SAF credit available!

Event from Northwest Fire Science Consortium

Part of the NWFSC Winter Webinar Series: Fire in Riparian and Aquatic Systems

No pre-registration necessary! CONNECT here.

Event from Northwest Fire Science Consortium

Fire severity and post-fire vegetation recovery in riparian areas of the Biscuit and B&B Complex fires, Oregon
Presenter: Jessica Halofsky, Research Ecologist, University of Washington

No pre-registration necessary!  CONNECT here.

Event from Columbia County Extension

This five-session course is ideal for anyone who is just starting out taking care of a woodland property.  Topics covered include:

  • Getting Started:  Assessing your property and your site
  • What's Going on in Your Woods?  Understanding tree biology and forest ecology
  • Taking Care of Your Woods: tree planting, care for an established forest, weed control
  • Getting it Done: Safety, timber sale logisitics, and laws and regulations

Instructor is Amy Grotta, OSU Forest & Natural Resources Extension Agent - Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties

To attend you must pre-register no later than January 26th.  The form can me accessed at:https://secure.oregonstate.edu/osuext/register/823.

AFSC fire ecologist Randi Jandt will talk about the evolution of Alaska firefighting practices--field and management--over the past 50 years.  We are starting to be aware of the changes in climate and in Alaskan forests: is the wildfire "problem" the same one we faced a half-century ago?  Have our management approaches and thinking about wildfire changed during that time? She will combine her background in land and fire management agencies with input from long-term observers to discuss which changes might be a response to changing weather, climate, & fire regimes in Alaska.

Register here: https://accap.uaf.edu/?q=AK_Fire

Event from Great Basin Fire Science Exchange

Who: Jerry Tagestad, Sr. Research Scientist with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

What: The ability to make informed decisions about landscape condition and fire risk usually isn’t limited by a lack of data; rather, decision-makers often are overwhelmed by too much data, but lack information. This webinar will provide an overview of tools that the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed to aid rangeland managers in deriving information from the abundant geospatial data available today. Particular emphasis will be placed on a recently developed pre-season fire risk model that could be adapted for the Great Basin.

How: Register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6879351048463531266.

Event from Washington State Department of Natural Resources

You can help Washington’s forests become healthier and less susceptible to fires.

Proper management of forests can reduce wildfire risk, improve forest health and enhance wildlife habitat. Washington State Department of Natural Resources is hosting a free workshop in Lyle February 7 to help owners of eastern Washington forestland learn land management techniques before the 2015 wildfire season begins.

A cadre of foresters, entomologists (insect specialists), and wildlife biologists will be on hand. Fellow landowners will talk about management activities they have undertaken on their land to reduce fuel loads and make their forests more resistant to insects, diseases and wildfire.

Event from Oregon State University
Event from OR Office of State Fire Marshal, ODF, and Keep Oregon Green

Join us Wednesday, February 4 in Salem, Ore. to learn tips on how to promote the wildland fire preparedness message with a free Ready, Set, Go! Train-the-Trainer. This session is designed to guide fire service agencies and supporting organizations through the implementation of the RSG! Program and identify program benefits in becoming a fire-adapted community. The RSG! Program aims to enhance your educational outreach to residents who live in WUI areas how to better prepare themselves and their properties against fire threats.

Lunch will be provided for all participants. Register now!

Authors E.K. Dodson ; Published 2013

Climate change is expected to increase disturbances such as stand-replacing wildfire in many ecosystems, which have the potential to drive rapid turnover in ecological communities. Ecosystem recovery, and therefore maintenance of critical structures and functions (resilience), is likely to vary across environmental gradients such as moisture availability, but has received little study. We examined conifer regeneration a decade following complete stand-replacing wildfire in dry coniferous forests spanning a 700 m elevation gradient where low elevation sites had relatively high moisture stress due to the combination of high temperature and low precipitation. Conifer regeneration varied strongly across the elevation gradient, with little tree regeneration at warm and dry low elevation sites. Logistic regression models predicted rapid increases in regeneration across the elevation gradient for both seedlings of all conifer species and ponderosa pine seedlings individually. This pattern was especially pronounced for well-established seedlings (⩾38 cm in height). Graminoids dominated lower elevation sites following wildfire, which may have added to moisture stress for seedlings due to competition for water. These results suggest moisture stress can be a critical factor limiting conifer regeneration following stand-replacing wildfire in dry coniferous forests, with predicted increases in temperature and drought in the coming century likely to increase the importance of moisture stress. Strongly moisture limited forested sites may fail to regenerate for extended periods after stand-replacing disturbance, suggesting these sites are high priorities for management intervention where maintaining forests is a priority.

Authors B.M. Collins ; Published 2014 ; URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/14-0971.1

Fuel treatment implementation in dry forest types throughout the western United
States is likely to increase in pace and scale in response to increasing incidence of large wildfires.
While it is clear that properly implemented fuel treatments are effective at reducing hazardous
fire potential, there are ancillary ecological effects that can impact forest resilience either
positively or negatively depending on the specific elements examined, as well as treatment type,
timing, and intensity. In this study, we use overstory tree growth responses, measured seven
years after the most common fuel treatments, to estimate forest health. Across the five species
analyzed, observed mortality and future vulnerability were consistently low in the mechanicalonly
treatment. Fire-only was similar to the control for all species except Douglas-fir, while
mechanical-plus-fire had high observed mortality and future vulnerability for white fir and sugar
pine. Given that overstory trees largely dictate the function of forests and services they provide
(e.g., wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, soil stability) these results have implications for
understanding longer-term impacts of common fuel treatments on forest resilience.

Authors J.S. Halofsky ; Published 2014 ; URL: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/13-1653.1

Determining appropriate actions to create or maintain landscapes resilient to
climate change is challenging because of uncertainty associated with potential effects of
climate change and their interactions with land management. We used a set of climateinformed
state-and-transition models to explore the effects of management and natural
disturbances on vegetation composition and structure under different future climates. Models
were run for dry forests of central Oregon under a fire suppression scenario (i.e., no
management other than the continued suppression of wildfires) and an active management
scenario characterized by light to moderate thinning from below and some prescribed fire,
planting, and salvage logging. Without climate change, area in dry province forest types
remained constant. With climate change, dry mixed-conifer forests increased in area (by an
average of 21–26% by 2100), and moist mixed-conifer forests decreased in area (by an average
of 36–60% by 2100), under both management scenarios. Average area in dry mixed-conifer
forests varied little by management scenario, but potential decreases in the moist mixedconifer
forest were lower with active management. With changing climate in the dry province
of central Oregon, our results suggest the likelihood of sustaining current levels of dense, moist
mixed-conifer forests with large-diameter, old trees is low (less than a 10% chance) irrespective
of management scenario; an opposite trend was observed under no climate change
simulations. However, results also suggest active management within the dry and moist
mixed-conifer forests that creates less dense forest conditions can increase the persistence of
larger-diameter, older trees across the landscape. Owing to projected increases in wildfire, our
results also suggest future distributions of tree structures will differ from the present. Overall,
our projections indicate proactive management can increase forest resilience and sustain some
societal values, particularly in drier forest types. However, opportunities to create more
disturbance-adapted systems are finite, all values likely cannot be sustained at current levels,
and levels of resilience success will likely vary by dry province forest type. Land managers
planning for a future without climate change may be assuming a future that is unlikely to exist.

Event from California Fire Science Consortium

David Calkin, research scientist at the Missoula Fire Lab.   "The Application of Risk Management Principles to Mitigate the Potential for Wildland Urban Interface Disasters.”


Register HERE!

Event from Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals

This webinar series highlights tribes and tribal organizations that have been addressing climate change impacts through conducting assessments and developing and implementing adaptation strategies. It also provides an overview of funding and technical resources that are available both regionally and nationally. The webinars are being offered by the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) at Northern Arizona University with support from the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNWRS), and in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest Tribal Climate Change Project at the University of Oregon, the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NPLCC), and PNWRS.

Authors Y. Tang ; Published 2015 ; URL: http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/47261

Climate change is expected to alter the frequency and severity of atmospheric conditions conducive for wildfires. In this study, we assess potential changes in fire weather conditions for the contiguous United States using the Haines Index (HI), a fire weather index that has been employed operationally to detect atmospheric conditions favorable for large and erratic fire behavior. The index summarizes lower atmosphere stability and dryness into an integer value with higher values indicting more fire-prone conditions. We use simulations produced by the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) from multiple regional climate models (RCMs) driven by multiple general circulation models (GCMs) to examine changes by midcentury in the seasonal percentage of days and the consecutive number of days with high (values ≥ 5) HI across the United States. Despite differences among the six RCM-GCM combinations in the magnitude and location of the projected changes, the results consistently suggest an increase in the number of days with high HI values over most of the United States during the summer season, with the dryness factor of the HI contributing more than the stability parameter to the projected changes. In addition, the consecutive number of days with high HI is projected to increase in summer. Together, these results suggest that future summers might be more conducive to large and dangerous fires. The projections for other seasons are inconsistent among the model combinations.

Event from Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium

Join us for a day and a half of presentations and discussions that address what we know about the positive and negative effects of prescribed fire, and what we can do to further ecosystem restoration and species recovery and maintenance.

This symposium has been designed with input from biologists, land managers, and fire operations specialists. The forum provides an opportunity exchange knowledge and strengthen connections across states, agencies, and disciplines.

Five panel discussions on Jan. 13 will allow us to hear the perspectives of 15 speakers, as well as hearing questions from the audience. We reconvene on the morning of Jan. 14 for breakout sessions to encourage deeper discussion and problem-solving conversations.

Authors C.L. Raymond; D.L. Peterson; R.M. Rochefort ; Published 2014 ; URL: http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/47131

The North Cascadia Adaptation Partnership (NCAP) is a science-management partnership consisting of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Mount Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests and Pacific Northwest Research Station; North Cascades National Park Complex; Mount Rainier National Park; and University of Washington Climate Impacts Group. These organizations worked with numerous stakeholders over 2 years to identify climate change issues relevant to resource management in the North Cascades and to find solutions that will facilitate the transition of the diverse ecosystems of this region into a warmer climate. The NCAP provided education, conducted a climate change vulnerability assessment, and developed adaptation options for federal agencies that manage 2.4 million hectares in north-central Washington.

In the Pacific Northwest, the current warming trend is expected to continue, with average warming of 2.1 °C by the 2040s and 3.8 °C by the 2080s; precipitation may vary slightly, but the magnitude and direction are uncertain. This warming will have far-reaching effects on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Hydrologic systems will be especially vulnerable as North Cascades watersheds become increasingly rain dominated, rather than snow dominated, resulting in more autumn/winter flooding, higher peak flows, and lower summer flows. This will greatly affect the extensive road network in the North Cascades (longer than 16 000 km), making it difficult to maintain access for recreational users and resource managers. It will also greatly reduce suitable fish habitat, especially as stream temperatures increase above critical thresholds. In forest ecosystems, higher temperatures will increase stress and lower the growth and productivity of lower elevation tree species on both the western and eastern sides of the Cascade crest, although growth of highelevation tree species is expected to increase. Distribution and abundance of plant species may change over the long term, and increased disturbance (wildfire, insects, and invasive species) will cause rapid changes in ecosystem structure and function across broad landscapes, especially on the east side. This in turn will alter habitat for a wide range of animal species by potentially reducing connectivity and latesuccessional forest structure.

Coping with and adapting to the effects of an altered climate will become increasingly difficult after the mid-21st century, although adaptation strategies and tactics are available to ease the transition to a warmer climate. For roads and infrastructure, tactics for increasing resistance and resilience to higher peak flows include installing hardened stream crossings, stabilizing streambanks, designing culverts for projected peak flows, and upgrading bridges and increasing their height. For fisheries, tactics for increasing resilience of salmon to altered hydrology and higher stream temperature include restoring stream and floodplain complexity, reducing road density near streams, increasing forest cover to retain snow and decrease snow melt, and identifying and protecting cold-water refugia. For vegetation, tactics for increasing resilience to higher temperature and increased disturbance include accelerating development of late-successional forest conditions by reducing density and diversifying forest structure, managing for future range of variability in structure and species, including invasive species prevention strategies in all projects, and monitoring changes in tree distribution and establishment at tree line. For wildlife, tactics for increasing resilience to altered habitat include increasing diversity of age classes and restoring a patch mosaic, increasing fuel reduction treatments in dry forests, using conservation easements to maintain habitat connectivity, and removing exotic fish species to protect amphibian populations.

Event from International Fire Chiefs Association (IAFC)

At the WUI conference you'll learn about the latest programs at work in the wildland community. It's also the perfect place to learn about new resources and how they can benefit you and your community. Tap into the knowledge being shared and get involved when you attend WUI.

Connect and collaborate with representatives from all parts of the wildland community including firefighters, federal and state-agency personnel, land-use community planners and many others.

 

Authors P. Morgan ; Published 2014 ; URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF13058

Comprehensive assessment of ecological change after fires have burned forests and rangelands is important if we are to understand, predict and measure fire effects. We highlight the challenges in effective assessment of fire and burn severity in the field and using both remote sensing and simulation models. We draw on diverse recent research for guidance on assessing fire effects on vegetation and soil using field methods, remote sensing and models. We suggest that instead of collapsing many diverse, complex and interacting fire effects into a single severity index, the effects of fire should be directly measured and then integrated into severity index keys specifically designed for objective severity assessment. Using soil burn severity measures as examples, we highlight best practices for selecting imagery, designing an index, determining timing and deciding what to measure, emphasising continuous variables measureable in the field and from remote sensing. We also urge the development of a severity field assessment database and research to further our understanding of causal mechanisms linking fire and burn severity to conditions before and during fires to support improved models linking fire behaviour and severity and for forecasting effects of future fires.

Webinar from Northwest Fire Science Consortium & LANDFIRE

TNC has recently completed with the USFS R6 Ecology Program assessing forest restoration needs across eastern WA, eastern OR and southwest OR.  TNC Forest Conservation Director Mark Stern will give a brief introduction from his perspective as a TNC program director and participant in several forest collaboratives. TNC’s Chris Zanger, forest analyst, and Ryan Haugo, senior forest ecologist, will handle the bulk of the presentation. The study, A New Approach to Evaluate Forest Structure Restoration Needs Across Oregon and Washington, appears in the January 2015 issue of Forest Ecology and Management

Recorded December 2, 2014

Check out the webinar on our YouTube channel!

Data Set from TNC/USFS R6

Data, Outputs, and Reference Model Descriptions provided

 

Join the Society for Range Management to celebrate "Managing Diversity" January 31st - February 6, 2015. Featured symposia, workshops, and field tours include:

  • Vegetation Management Before and After Drought - Bureau of Land Management & USDA Forest Service
  • Wildland and Prescribed Fire in Rangeland Management - Joint Fire Science Program
  • Sustainable Public Lands Grazing: Policy, Management and Science - 3rd Rustici Range Science Symposium
  • Collaboration and Partnerships: Conservation for Rangelands - California Rangeland Conservation Coalition
  • Rangeland Research in Indian Country: Land, Cattle and People
  • Field Tour Examples: Restoration, Ecological Site Descriptions (ESDs), Low-Stress Animal Handling, Targeted Grazing, Rangeland Soils, Invasive Species Management

 

Register HERE!

Authors N.E. Stavros; J.T. Abatzoglou; D. McKenzie; N.K. larkin ; Published 2014

Seasonal changes in the climatic potential for very large wildfires (VLWF ≥ 50,000 ac ~ 20,234 ha) across the western contiguous United States are projected over the 21st century using generalized linear models and downscaled climate projections for two representative concentration pathways (RCPs). Significant (p  ≤ 0.05) increases in VLWF probability for climate of the mid-21st century (2031–2060) relative to contemporary climate are found, for both RCP 4.5 and 8.5. The largest differences are in the Eastern Great Basin, Northern Rockies, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains, and Southwest. Changes in seasonality and frequency of VLWFs d7epend on changes in the future climate space. For example, flammability-limited areas such as the Pacific Northwest show that (with high model agreement) the frequency of weeks with VLWFs in a given year is 2–2.7 more likely. However, frequency of weeks with at least one VLWF in fuel-limited systems like the Western Great Basin is 1.3 times more likely (with low model agreement). Thus, areas where fire is directly associated with hot and dry climate, as opposed to experiencing lagged effects from previous years, experience more change in the likelihood of VLWF in future projections. The results provide a quantitative foundation for management to mitigate the effects of VLWFs.

Event from Great Plains Fire Science Exchange

Jeremy Bailey and Ben Wheeler discuss the strategy behind TREX and how to create burn units across multiple landownerships in the Great Plains. 

 Connect to the Webinar!

Event from The Northern Rockies Fire Science Network and the Southwest Fire Science Consortium

This webinar will highlight results from a study investigating the ability of wildfire to act as a fuel treatment. The study evaluated whether or not wildfires limited the occurrence, size, and severity of subsequent wildfires in four large wilderness complexes in Idaho, Montana, and New Mexico. The study focused on protected areas to minimize anthropogenic factors (e.g., roads and fuel treatments) that may affect fire behavior and effects.