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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

Central Oregon Prescribed Fire Training Exchange

Save the date for this TREX—application information will be available in January.   

A Climate Change Assessment of Vegetation, Fire, and Ecosystem Services for Tribal lands in the Pacific Northwest

What will you learn?

Researchers from the USFS PNW Research Station and Case Research synthesized model projections of changes in vegetation and fire across tribal lands in the PNW. They will demonstrate how these changes will impact economically and culturally important ecosystem services and how this information can be used for adaptation planning.


Michael Case is a Research Scientist and has more than 15 years of experience assessing the climate change vulnerability of species and ecosystems. Applying this information, he works with federal, state, tribal, and non-profit organizations to implement adaptation strategies. He has both Masters and PhD degrees from the University of Washington and worked as a Research Scientist for World Wildlife Fund’s International Climate Change Program for 5 years.

Session Details: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 10:00am US/Pacific || Duration: 1 hour

Who should participate? 

Land managers/practitioners, Fire managers, Scientists/Researchers, Tribal Nations, Others

Learn more at the Project website, http://tribes.forestry.oregonstate.edu

Join the Northwest Fire Science Consortium and REGISTER NOW!

NWFSC Research Brief #15: Conflict Around Suppression: Drivers and Legacies

Authored by N.W.Fire Scien Consortium; Published 2017

In this study, researchers interviewed 48 residents, community leaders, and professionals involved in wildfire and forest management during the 2006 Columbia Complex Fire in southeastern Washington State. The fire burned 109,402 acres of grain, pasture, and forest as well as 28 structures around Dayton, WA and was managed at different stages by teams from all three levels of the Incident Command (IC) system, with multiple state, federal, and international fire teams involved. Conflict surrounding the fires’ management was covered by the media. Researchers interviewed local community members (external IC team members were not interviewed) about the roots of the conflict between local rural residents and the external Incident Command system. In particular, they sought to identify specific elements of social interaction and underlying structure that led to tensions with Incident Command teams during the wildfire, and whether the conflict persisted long-term.

Effects of Fuel treatments and Previous Fires on Fire Management Costs

This webinar will highlight results from a study on the effects of fuel treatments and previously burned areas on fire management costs. Presenter Kevin Barnett and his colleagues, Helen Naughton, Sean Parks, and Carol Miller, built models explaining variation in daily fire management costs that captured the influences of weather, topography, human populations-at-risk, and encounters with fuel treatments and previously burned areas.

Results suggest that previous fuel treatments or wildland fires can be positively or negatively associated with daily fire management costs depending on geographic setting and landscape context. The findings presented in this webinar cover the contiguous United States.

Learn More & Register

Effects of accelerated wildfire on future fire regimes and implications for the United States federal fire policy

Authored by A.A. Ager; Published 2017

Wildland fire suppression practices in the western United States are being widely scrutinized by policymakers and scientists as costs escalate and large fires increasingly affect social and ecological values. One potential solution is to change current fire suppression tactics to intentionally increase the area burned under conditions when risks are acceptable to managers and fires can be used to achieve long-term restoration goals in fire adapted forests. We conducted experiments with the Envision landscape model to simulate increased levels of wildfire over a 50-year period on a 1.2 million ha landscape in the eastern Cascades of Oregon, USA. We hypothesized that at some level of burned area fuels would limit the growth of new fires, and fire effects on the composition and structure of forests would eventually reduce future fire intensity and severity. We found that doubling current rates of wildfire resulted in detectable feedbacks in area burned and fire intensity. Area burned in a given simulation year was reduced about 18% per unit area burned in the prior five years averaged across all scenarios. The reduction in area burned was accompanied by substantially lower fire severity, and vegetation shifted to open forest and grass-shrub conditions at the expense of old growth habitat. Negative fire feedbacks were slightly moderated by longer-term positive feedbacks, in which the effect of prior area burned diminished during the simulation. We discuss trade-offs between managing fuels with wildfire versus prescribed fire and mechanical fuel treatments from a social and policy standpoint. The study provides a useful modeling framework to consider the potential value of fire feedbacks as part of overall land management strategies to build fire resilient landscapes and reduce wildfire risk to communities in the western U.S. The results are also relevant to prior climate-wildfire studies that did not consider fire feedbacks in projections of future wildfire activity.

Climate, Megafires, and Conservation Financing

What will you learn?
Join us in a discussion on how climatic changes can influence wildland fire activity across the globe and how these critical fire weather variables have changed over the last 40 years. Learn more...


  • Cynthia West - Director, Office of Sustainability and Climate, USDA Forest Service
  • Shawna Legarza - Director, Fire and Aviation Management, USDA Forest Service
  • Matt Jolly - Research Ecologist, Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service
  • Jacqueline Emanuel - Director, National Partnership Office
  • Zach Knight - Managing Partner, Blue Forest Conservation

Session Details: Dec 11, 2017 1:00 pm US/Eastern     Duration: 01:30 (hh:mm)     Export Event to Calendar
*** Please join the session 15 minutes prior to the start of the webinar. ***

All live webinars are recorded. Within a week of the live event, a View button provides access to the on-demand replay. CEUs are available for on-demand webinars.

Who should participate?
Foresters, Climatologist, Conservationist, Landowners, Land and Forest Managers

Education Credits Units:

  • Georgia Master Timber Harvester - 1 hour CLE Continuing Logger Ed Credit    [status: Applied For]
  • New York Logger Training - .25 hour NYLT TLC Credit    [status: Applied For]

Society of American Foresters - 1 hour Category 1 Credit    [status: Applied For]

More information HERE.

The role of fire - past, present, future - in our backyard "rainforests" of the PNW

Most of us in the “wet” forests of western Oregon and Washington got our fill of smoke this past summer from an amazing year of wildfires.  For many, the situation was a “once-in-a-lifetime” event. Join us for a webinar/discussion on the role of fire -- past, present and future -- in our backyard “rainforests” of the  PNW.


Fire Regime: Past, Present, Future; Addressing Multiple Perspectives
Tom Spies, USFS, PNW Research Station, Corvallis

Ecology: Effects of Fire on Vegetation
Steve Acker, R6 Ecologist, US Forest Service

Opportunities and Challenges to Restoring Mixed Severity Fire Regimes:  Examples from the Willamette National Forest

Jane Kertis, R6 Ecologist, US Forest Service 


Sign in Visual:   adobe connect      https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/r6data

Audio:  888-844-9904    access code 8596078  


All welcome!  Share widely.  This will be taped and available at https://ecoshare.info/projects/central-cascade-adaptive-management-partnership/

Effect of fuels management, previous wildfire and fire weather on Rim Fire severity

About the Webinar:

Large wildfire incidence has increased in forests throughout the western U.S. following changes in vegetation structure and pattern, along with a changing climate. Given this increase there is great interest in whether fuels treatments and previous wildfire can alter fire severity patterns in large wildfires. The 255,000 acre 2013 Rim Fire created an opportunity to study fuels treatment effects across a large forested landscape in the Sierra Nevada. We assessed the relative influence of previous fuels treatments (including wildfire), fire weather, vegetation and water balance on Rim Fire severity. We did this at three different spatial scales to investigate whether the influences on fire severity changed across scales. Both fuels treatments and previous low to moderate severity wildfire reduced the prevalence of high severity fire. Areas without recent fuels treatments and areas that previously burned at high severity tended to have a greater proportion of high severity fire in the Rim Fire. Areas treated with prescribed fire, especially when combined with thinning, had the lowest proportions of high severity. Proportion of the landscape burned at high severity was most strongly influenced by fire weather and proportional area previously treated for fuels or burned by low to moderate severity wildfire. The proportion treated needed to effectively reduce the amount of high severity fire varied by spatial scale of analysis, with smaller spatial scales requiring a greater proportion treated to see an effect on fire severity. When moderate and high severity fire encountered a previously treated area, fire severity was significantly reduced in the treated area relative to the adjacent untreated area. Our results show that fuels treatments and low to moderate severity wildfire can reduce fire severity in a subsequent wildfire, even when burning under fire growth conditions. These results serve as further evidence that both fuels treatments and lower severity wildfire can increase forest resilience.

Register HERE

Ashland Prescribed Fire Training Exchange

Save the date for this TREX—application information will be available in January.   

NWFSC Activity Report - Climate change assessment for Tribal lands in the Pacific Northwest

Authored by J. Creighton; Published 2017

Workshop focus:
1)Present results from the research team assessment that identifies potential climatic changesto vegetation, fire, and ecosystem services across tribal lands and sacred places throughout the Pacific Northwest and
2)Interactively identify relevant adaptation strategies and tactics through a hands-on activitywith session participants.

Returning Fire to the Land: Celebrating Traditional Knowledge and Fire

For millennia, many tribes across North America used fire to promote valued resources. Sharing our collective understanding offire and fire management, derived from both traditional and western knowledge systems, can benefit landscapes and communities.

In this webinar, Frank Lake, Research Ecologist with the Pacific Southwest Research Station will present findings from workshops held in 2012 and 2014 to investigate how traditional and western knowledge can be used to enhance wildland fire and fuels management and research. The workshops engaged tribal members, managers, and researchers to identify challenges and formulate solutions regarding cross-jurisdictional work, fuel reduction strategies, and wildland fire management and research involving lands important to tribes. A key conclusion from the workshops is that successful management of wildland fire and fuels requires collaborative partnerships that share traditional and western fire knowledge through culturally sensitive consultation, coordination, and communication for building trust. Dr. Lake will present a framework for developing these partnerships based on workshop discussions. This webinar features the findings of one article in a Journal of Forestry special issue on Tribal Forestry and Wildland fires.

You can register for the webinar here.

Where there's smoke... there's social science! Public perceptions of smoke & communication from multiple regions

The importance of smoke has been well-observed by managers through frequent concerns expressed over smoke. Public perceptions of fuel reduction techniques, with a particular emphasis on using prescribed fire as a management tool, have been under study for almost a decade. However, research on public opinions regarding smoke from these wildfires, fuel reduction fires, and private-use fires is more limited.

The Joint Fire Science Program funded a multi-year, multi-stage project that examined the interaction of public perceptions and communication programs on fire smoke and land management. The project was completed in three distinct phases with data collected in four study locations.Methods included interviews, mail-surveys, and focus groups.

Overall, the project used a case-study approach to examine what influenced smoke perceptions and to experiment with possible communication strategies. Key findings regarding smoke perceptions include the influence of the source of fire smoke, the perceived trade-offs of risk vs. benefits from smoke, and how respondents view smoke and fuel reduction activities. Observations on communication strategies and suggestions for future interactions with both the public and within agencies will also be discussed during the webinar.

Register HERE.

Tamm Review: Shifting global fire regimes: Lessons from reburns and research needs

Authored by S.J. Prichard; Published 2017

Across the globe, rising temperatures and altered precipitation patterns have caused persistent regional droughts, lengthened fire seasons, and increased the number of weather-driven extreme fire events. Because wildfires currently impact an increasing proportion of the total area burned, land managers need to better understand reburns – in which previously burned areas can modify the patterns and severity of subsequent fires. For example, knowing how long past fire boundaries can function as barriers to fire spread may empower decision-makers to manage some wildfires as large-scale fuel treatments, or alternatively, determine where prescribed burning or strategic wildfire management are required. Additionally, a clear understanding of how prior burn mosaics influence future fire spread and burn severity is critical knowledge for landscape and fire-dependent wildlife habitat planning under a rapidly changing climate. Here, we review published studies on reburns in fire-adapted ecosystems of the world, including temperate forests of North America, semi-arid forests and rangelands, tropical and subtropical forests, grasslands and savannas, and Mediterranean ecosystems. To date, research on reburns is unevenly distributed across the world with a relative abundance of literature in Australia, Europe and North America and a scarcity of studies in Africa, Asia and South America. This review highlights the complex role of repeated fires in modifying vegetation and fuels, and patterns of subsequent wildfires. In fire-prone ecosystems, the return of fire is inevitable, and legacies of past fires, or their absence, often dictate the characteristics of subsequent fires.