View article. In this study, we present a framework for forecasting large fire occurrence – an extreme value event – and evaluating measures of uncertainties that do not rely on distributional assumptions.
RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS
View article. Resource managers often need scientific information to match their decisions (typically short-term and local) to complex, long-term, large-scale challenges such as adaptation to climate change.
This study investigated the effects of mastication and hand-thinning treatments in piñon-juniper (PJ) woodlands on ecological processes including fire, and on a wide range of species, particularly vulnerable PJ obligate birds.
* Updated 2017 ** The Fire Behavior Field Reference Guide (FBFRG) was developed as a hands-on user tool for field going Fire Behavior Analysts (FBANs), Long Term Fire Analysts (LTANs), and other fire behavior operational personnel.
This brief highlights sustainable grazing practices and sagebrush treatments that enhanced herbaceous understory for sage grouse in years with average winters, but populations declined following severe winters.
This book adds to current knowledge about the regional status of the sagebrush ecosystem, the distribution of habitats, the threats to the ecosystem, and the influence of threats and habitat conditions on occurrence and abundance of sagebrush associated fauna and flora in the Wyoming Basins.
This report examines federal officials’ and stakeholders’ views on (1) factors that affect federal-nonfederal collaboration aimed at reducing wildland fire risk to communities and (2) actions that could improve their ability to reduce risk to communities.
This meta-analysis was conducted to determine if there were consistent responses of understory vegetation to fire and thinning treatments in North American forests that historically experienced frequent surface fire regimes
This study investigated effects of fall grazing, spring grazing and not grazing on fuel characteristics, fire ignition and initial spread during the wildfire season (July and August) at five shrub steppe sites in Oregon, USA.
This bulletin summarizes work by an interdisciplinary team of Pacific Northwest Research Station and Oregon State University scientists who created maps of the conterminous United States that indicate landscape exposure to concentrated wildfire potential, insects and disease risk, urban and exurban development, and climate change.
This guide, which includes the basic biology, life stages and habitat needs, habitat components, sagebrush monitoring, conservation planning in Wyoming, and predator impact, is intended to enhance understanding of sage-grouse conservation in Wyoming.
The Office of Sustainability and Climate hosted a webinar to explore current issues related to drought in rangelands; examples of drought- and climate-related impacts; and management options for increasing resilience. See the webinar recording and slides in pdf format for more information
The WUI Wildfire Mitigation Desk Reference Guide is designed to provide basic background information on relevant programs and terminology for those, whether community members or agency personnel, who are seeking to enhance their community’s wildfire mitigation efforts.
In this study, an interdisciplinary team of Pacific Northwest Research Station and Oregon State University scientists created maps of the conterminous United States that indicate landscape exposure to concentrated wildfire potential, insects and disease risk, urban and exurban development, and climate change.
This study was designed to quantify how the properties (size, shape, and fuel chemistry) of masticated fuels change with age and how these changes affect their burn characteristics (flame height, rate of spread, heat flux, and below fuel bed temperatures).
This study suggests that policy and management have focused primarily on specified resilience approaches aimed at resistance to wildfire and restoration of areas burned by wildfire through fire suppression and fuels management.
This project examines the weather and climate factors related to known megafires and very large
wildfires that have occurred across the contiguous United States and projects the likelihood of
megafires occurring during the 2046-2065 mid-century time period.
This study used the ecohydrological simulation model SOILWAT to disentangle the contributions of direct climate change effects and of additional indirect, climate change-induced changes in vegetation on soil water availability.
This study examines the drought ﬁre relationship, speciﬁcally the correlations between water balance deﬁcit and annual area burned, across the full gradient of deﬁcit in the western USA, from temperate rainforest to desert.
This study used public land records to characterize livestock grazing across Wyoming, USA, and we used greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as a model organism to evaluate responses to livestock management.
Recognizing the importance of mesic habitats in the desert, the NRCS-led Sage Grouse Initiative announces a new conservation strategy that empowers private ranchers and our partners to protect and enhance the wet, green places that sustain working lands and wildlife.
In this study, researchers examined nitrogen cycling rates in sagebrush and cheatgrass-invaded soils over a 100 mile range in the northern Great Basin, adding antibiotics to study the roles that soil fungi and bacteria play in nitrogen transformations.
This study used graph theory, representing priority areas as spatially distributed nodes interconnected by movement corridors, to understand the capacity of priority areas to function as connected networks in the Bi-State, Central, and Washington regions of the Greater Sage-Grouse range.
This study measured aboveground C pools and fluxes at leaf, soil, and ecosystem scales over a single growing season in plots that had 200 mm of supplemental precipitation added in either winter or summer for the past 21 years, in shrub- and exotic-bunchgrass-dominated garden plots.
This brief summarizes data and studies to determine whether the results of JFSP-funded projects are reaching potential users and informing management decisions and actions. Those studies have helped identify issues and influence changes within the program. While some studies showed that JFSP-funded research is being used for planning and for supporting treatment prescriptions, they also identified barriers that prevent greater use of fire science information by the broader fire management community. These outcomes studies are an important tool to help the JFSP address those barriers and continue to make program improvements.
This study adapted and applied four rangeland health indicators to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program for research locations on the Fishlake National Forest in central Utah.
This study used public land records to characterize livestock grazing across Wyoming, USA, and we used Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as a model organism to evaluate responses to livestock management.
This study analyzed data sets from previous and ongoing studies across the Great Basin characterizing cover response of perennial and annual forbs that are consumed by sage grouse to mechanical, prescribed fire, and low-disturbance fuel reduction treatments.
This handbook walks managers and practitioners through a number of site-specific decisions managers face before selecting the appropriate type of restoration. This site-level decision tool for restoration of sagebrush steppe ecosystems is organized in nine steps.
This paper examines vulnerability in the context of affluence and privilege. It focuses on the 1991 Oakland Hills Firestorm in California, USA to examine long-term lived experiences of the disaster. Vulnerability is typically understood as a condition besetting poor and marginalized communities. Frequently ignored in these discussions are the experiences of those who live in more affluent areas.
Numerous agencies, organizations, and collaboratives conduct activities related to wildland fire. Understanding all of their different roles and objectives can be confusing. This fact sheet provides brief descriptions of some of the most common wildland fire initiatives, programs, networks, and other efforts taking place around the country.
This study found that insects generally reduced the severity of subsequent wildfires. Specific effects varied with insect type and timing, but both insects decreased the abundance of live vegetation susceptible to wildfire at multiple time lags.
This short synthesis highlights findings of the national Fire and Fire Surrogates Study, which conducted an integrated network of experiments at 13 sites across the United States, many of which took place on National Forest lands. Results suggest that more species increased in number than decreased. For example, researchers reported that populations of western bluebirds (Sialia mexicana) increased following prescribed fire; whereas mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli) decreased in response to thinning treatments. The positive and negative responses of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), gray-collared chipmunks (Tamias cinereicollis) and least chipmunks (T. minimus) varied among the sites; but the overall biomass of small mammals increased in response to the fire treatments. Researchers also found that small mammals’ responses were related to fire uniformity: the more heterogeneous the post-fire landscape, the greater the proportion of positive responses.
This brief was developed to help guide collaborative landscape planning efforts, through use of a framework of seven core principles and their implications for management of fire-prone interior forest landscapes.
Key findings included:
- Historically, forests were spatially heterogeneous at multiple scales as a result of interactions among succession, disturbance, and other processes.
- Planning and management are needed at fine to broad scales to restore the key characteristics of resilience.
- Landscapes must be viewed as socio-ecological systems that provide services to people within the limited capacities of ecosystems.
- Development of landscape-level prescriptions is the foundation of restoration planning.
This study found that prescribed fires conducted under favorable conditions (2011) induced potentially positive bighorn responses including high survival and increased use of treated areas. Fires during drought conditions were more widespread with little vegetative response (2012) and coincided with increased bighorn mortality in spring 2013.
This Association for Fire Ecology position paper is an organization-wide initiative with two objectives: to determine the prevalence of these two issues throughout the profession, including management, education, and research; and to provide a set of principles and actions that are strongly recommended for implementation in order to foster organizational cultures of respect, equity, and parity.
This KQED Science article indicates that since 1600, the way humans have used land in the Sierra has had more effect on fire behavior than climate change. Valerie Trouet, associate professor of dendrochronology at the University of Arizona and lead coauthor of a study about humans and fire, suggests that land managers and owners can affect fire behavior through activities that make forests more resilient.
Climate change is altering the frequency and severity of forest disturbances such as wildfires and bark beetle outbreaks, thereby increasing the potential for sequential disturbances to interact. Interactions can amplify or dampen disturbances, yet the direction and magnitude of future disturbance interactions are difficult to anticipate because underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. We tested how variability in postfire forest development affects future susceptibility to bark beetle outbreaks, focusing on mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) and Douglas-fir beetle (Dendroctonus pseudotsugae) in forests regenerating from the large high-severity fires that affected Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in 1988. We combined extensive field data on postfire tree regeneration with a well-tested simulation model to assess susceptibility to bark beetle outbreaks over 130 y of stand development. Despite originating from the same fire event, among-stand variation in forest structure was very high and remained considerable for over a century. Thus, simulated emergence of stands susceptible to bark beetles was not temporally synchronized but was protracted by several decades, compared with stand development from spatially homogeneous regeneration. Furthermore, because of fire-mediated variability in forest structure, the habitat connectivity required to support broad-scale outbreaks and amplifying cross-scale feedbacks did not develop until well into the second century after the initial burn.
This report makes the case that forest restoration should be at least equal to other land management priorities because large-scale restoration is necessary for the sake of forest ecosystem integrity now and into the future.
This report evaluated how changes in climate in the United States would lead to changes by the middle and the end of the current century in annual spending to suppress wildfires on USDA Forest Service (FS) and Department of the Interior (DOI) managed lands.
In this study, field sampling and analysis were conducted across environmental gradients following the 2007 Tongue-Crutcher Wildfire in southwestern Idaho to determine the conditions most influential in post-fire vegetation recovery patterns. Duff depth and fire severity were determined to be the most influential factors affecting post-fire vegetation response.
This study found that higher moss cover will be achieved quickly with the addition of organic matter and when moss fragments originate from sites with a climate that is similar to that of the restoration site.
Collectively, the data analyzed in this study demonstrate that good condition ungrazed Wyoming big sagebrush plant communities exhibited resilience following fire and maintained a native-dominated mosaic of shrubs, bunchgrasses, and forbs.
This synthesis examines the fundamental spatial and temporal disconnects between the specific policies that have been crafted to address our wildfire challenges and a reorientation of goals to focus on creating an anticipatory wildfire governance system focused on social and ecological resilience.
Findings of this study supports other studies reporting negative impacts of oil and gas development on sage-grouse populations and our modeling approach allowed us to make inference to a longer time scale and larger spatial extent than in previous studies.
This study found two levels of hierarchical genetic subpopulation structure. These subpopulations occupy significantly different elevations and are surrounded by divergent vegetative communities with different dominant subspecies of sagebrush, each with its own chemical defense against herbivory. We propose five management groups reflective of genetic subpopulation structure. These genetic groups are largely synonymous with existing priority areas for conservation. On average, 85.8 % of individuals within each conservation priority area assign to a distinct subpopulation. Our results largely support existing management decisions regarding subpopulation boundaries.
This report provides a strategic approach developed by a Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies interagency working group for conservation of sagebrush ecosystems, Greater sage-grouse, and Gunnison sage-grouse. It uses information on (1) factors that influence sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to nonnative invasive annual grasses and (2) distribution and relative abundance of sage-grouse populations to address persistent ecosystem threats, such as invasive annual grasses and wildfire, and land use and development threats, such as oil and gas development and cropland conversion, to develop effective management strategies. A sage-grouse habitat matrix links relative resilience and resistance of sagebrush ecosystems with modeled sage-grouse breeding habitat probabilities to help decisionmakers assess risks and determine appropriate management strategies at both landscape and site scales. Areas for targeted management are assessed by overlaying matrix components with Greater sage-grouse Priority Areas for Conservation and Gunnison sage-grouse critical habitat and linkages, breeding bird concentration areas, and specific habitat threats. Decision tools are discussed for determining the suitability of target areas for management and the most appropriate management actions. A similar approach was developed for the Great Basin that was incorporated into the Federal land use plan amendments and served as the basis of a Bureau of Land Management Fire and Invasives Assessment Tool, which was used to prioritize sage-grouse habitat for targeted management activities.
This report found that experiments conducted the first few years after tree cutting suggest not much had changed after tree removal treatments. The longer-term results are preliminary, but suggest that hydrologic function and resistance to erosion generally increase where treatments enhance grass, forb, and litter cover in the interspaces between trees and shrubs.
The Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) digest gives background on Secretarial Order 3336, describes the role of JFSP research, collaborators and partnerships, and the the Great Basin Fire Science Exchange.
This 2016 report highlights selected recent accomplishments of federal agencies and partners in conserving the sagebrush ecosystem and the more than 350 species, including the Greater sage-grouse, as well as the human traditions and livelihoods that depend on it.
The Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy outlined the need for coordinated, science-based adaptive management to achieve long-term protection, conservation, and restoration of the sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystem.
This paper reports that community results from burn treatments can mean an increase in patchy spatial distribution of ectomycorrhiza (EMF). Quick initiation of EMF recolonization is possible depending on the size of high intensity burn patches, proximity of low and unburned soil, and survival of nearby hosts.
This research suggests that widespread environmental change within sagebrush ecosystems, especially the fire-cheatgrass cycle (e.g., invasion of cheatgrass and increased fire frequency) and human land disturbances, are directly and indirectly influencing ground squirrels and badgers.
The paper concludes that though wildfire and invasion by exotic annual grasses may negatively affect other species, harvester ants may indeed be one of the few winners among a myriad of losers linked to vegetation state changes within sagebrush ecosystems.
This study found that to encourage perennial grasses over annual herbaceous species in Wyoming big sagebrush communities, mowing is better suited to locales lacking exotic annuals and retaining ample cover of perennial grasses and sagebrush of smaller size.
This study concluded that, although increases in native species could possibly be obtained by repeating crested wheatgrass control treatments, reducing crested wheatgrass opens a window for invasion by exotic weed species.
This study found that post-fire recovery of big sagebrush in the northern Columbia Basin is a slow process that may require several decades on average, but faster recovery rates may occur under specific site and climate conditions
In this article, authors were able to integrate complex interactions, and visualize the distribution of risk across broad spatial scales, providing land managers and researchers a valuable tool for climate change vulnerability assessments and action plans.
Abstracts of Recent Papers on Climate Change and Land Management in the West, Prepared by Louisa Evers, Science Liaison and Climate Change Coordinator, BLM, OR-WA State Office.
This article reviews trends in aspen science and management, particularly in Utah and highlights recent studies continuing the tradition to keep rangeland managers informed of important developments, focusing on aspen functional types, historical cover change and climate warming, ungulate herbivory, and disturbance interactions.
This paper highlights greater sage-grouse egg depredation observations obtained opportunistically from three common raven nests located in Idaho and Nevada where depredated greater sage-grouse eggs were found at or in the immediate vicinity of the nest site.
This study compared trees in 6- to 28-year-old burned and unburned sites in the third drought year in mixed conifer forests at low elevation in Kings Canyon, Sequoia, and Yosemite national parks in California, USA. Common conifer species found in the burned plots had significantly reduced probability of mortality compared to unburned plots during the drought. Stand density was significantly lower in burned versus unburned sites, supporting the idea that reduced competition may be responsible for the differential drought mortality response.
This study monitored the habitat-use patterns of 71 radio-marked sage-grouse inhabiting an area affected by wildfire in the Virginia Mountains of northwestern Nevada during 2009–2011. Sage-grouse selected micro-sites with greater shrub canopy cover and less cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) cover than random sites. Total shrub canopy, including sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) and other shrub species, at small spatial scales (0.8 ha and 3.1 ha) was the single contributing selection factor to higher nest survival.
This study found that early seral natives generally outperformed late seral natives when growing with exotics and had earlier emergence timing, although results differed among functional groups and soil types. Survival probabilities, however, did not differ between the early and late seral mixes when growing without exotics.
This study used survey data from three 2010 wildland fires to understand how ecological knowledge and education level affected fire management perception and understanding. Results suggest that education may play a mediating role in understanding complex wildfire issues but is not associated with a better understanding of fire management.
This report documents the growth over the past 20 years of the portion of the Forest Service’s budget that is dedicated to fire, and the debilitating impact those rising costs are having on the recreation, restoration, planning, and other activities of the Forest Service.
The Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge Strategic Plan guides the Great Basin LCC’s science program over a three to five year period (2015-2019). The plan outlines the LCC’s priority topics and how they will be updated, describes the process to determine annual focal topics and activities, and outlines how the LCC will implement, evaluate and adjust the science program.
This field guide provides a framework for rapidly evaluating post-fire resilience to disturbance, or recovery potential, and resistance to invasive annual grasses, and for determining the need and suitability of the burned area for seeding. The framework identifies six primary components that largely determine resilience to disturbance, resistance to invasive grasses, and potential successional pathways following wildfire, as well as the information sources and tools needed to evaluate each component.
This handbook discusses concepts surrounding landscape and restoration ecology of sagebrush ecosystems and greater sage-grouse that habitat managers and restoration practitioners need to know to make informed decisions regarding where and how to restore specific areas.
In SageSTEP newsletter Issue 27, researchers explore some of the principal effects shredding may have on sagebrush steppe fuel-beds, and potential fire behavior and fire severity. Also in this issue, is a discussion about conducting restoration activities with specific objectives in mind in order to be successful.
This handbook will guide decision makers through the important process steps of identifying appropriate questions, gathering appropriate data, developing landscape objectives, and prioritizing landscape patches where potential sites for restoration projects may be located. Once potential sites are selected, land managers can move to the site-specific decision tool to guide restoration decisions at the site level.
This report outlines national and regional prescribed fire activity, state prescribed fire programs, and identifies impediments limiting the use of prescribed fire. The results include all federal, state, and private prescribed fire acres for forestry, rangeland, and agricultural burning that occurred in 2014.
Post-fire recovery of big sagebrush in the northern Columbia Basin is a slow process that may require several decades on average, but faster recovery rates may occur under specific site and climate conditions. Read full article.
This research brought together futures researchers and wildfire specialists to envision what the future holds for wildfire impacts and how the wildfire community may respond to the complex suite of emerging challenges. The consensus of the project’s foresight panel suggests that an era of resilience is ahead: but that this resilience may come either with a very high cost (after some kind of collapse), in a more systematic way (that is, if the wildfire community plans for, and fosters, resilience), or something in between. Read the Fire Science Digest.
This assessment establishes the scientific foundation needed to manage for drought resilience and adaptation. Focal areas include drought characterization; drought impacts on forest processes and disturbances such as insect outbreaks and wildfire; and consequences for forest and rangeland values.
The proposed framework from this study increases the utility of ESDs to assess rangelands, target conservation and restoration practices, and predict ecosystem responses to management. Read full article.
In this Live Science article, Francis Kilkenny, lead of Great Basin Native Plant Project (GBNPP), shares information about the GBNPP and how it continues to support more successful rangeland restoration.
This bibliography reflects the growing interest in assisted migration, the intentional movement of plant materials in response to climate change, and provides a central foundation for collaboration in generating research questions, conducting studies, transferring and acquiring data, expanding studies to key species and geographic regions, and guiding native plant transfer in changing climates.
This review discusses how climate change may modify invasive species and the tools used to manage them. It will help guide development of important research questions, the answers to which will better position us to devise and apply meaningful management options to address invasive species in both present and future climates.
Compared with unburned plots, the biomass of cyanobacteria was diminished under juniper and sagebrush; it was reduced in the interspaces in both burned and unburned plots. Nitrogen fixation rates declined over time in juniper plots and interspaces but not in sagebrush plots. Although fire negatively affected some biological soil crust organisms in some parts of the early-seral juniper woodland, the overall impact on the crusts was minimal. Read the full article.
Researchers modeled the climatic envelope for subspecies wyomingensis for contemporary and future climates (decade 2050). This model and its predictions can be used as a restoration-planning tool to assess vulnerability of climatic extirpation over the next few decades. Read full article.
Researchers found that container volume may influence seedling morphology and optimize establishment, while field fertilization, especially during spring outplanting when planting sites have low moisture availability, may hinder first-year survival. Read the full article.
The Sage Grouse Initiative developed posters and postcards designed to promote conversations about the importance of taking care of sagebrush community plant health and diversity, above and below ground. Learn more and view posters.
Researchers report a dramatic population number expansion of Salsola ryanii in the decade since it was originally documented. Salsola ryanii has every indication of being just as invasive as its highly invasive parents. Read the full article.
Researchers determined vegetation response to fuel reduction by tree mastication (shredding) or seeding and then shredding. Findings suggested that shredding or seeding and then shredding should facilitate wildfire suppression, increase resistance to weed dominance, and lead toward greater resilience to disturbance by increasing perennial herbaceous cover. Read the full article.
Fires, once largely confined to a single season, have become a continual threat in some places, burning earlier and later in the year, in the United States and abroad. They have ignited in the West during the winter and well into the fall, have arrived earlier than ever in Canada and have burned without interruption in Australia for almost 12 months. Read the full New York Times article.
Proceeding recordings are available from the February 2016 Sagebrush Ecosystem Conservation Conference co-sponsored by the Great Basin Consortium and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Utah State University. Registration (free) is required to view the recordings. Post-conference survey results and feedback are also available.
This report synthesizes existing extreme fire behavior knowledge in a way that connects the weather, fuel, and topographic factors that contribute to development of extreme fire behavior. It focuses on the state of the science but also considers how that science is currently presented to the fire management community, including incident commanders, fire behavior analysts, incident meteorologists, National Weather Service office forecasters, and firefighters.
Community wildfire protection plans (CWPPs) are an effective way to reduce wildfire risk in the U.S. wildland urban interface (WUI), but most WUI communities have no such plan in place. Community support and involvement are necessary for CWPPs to succeed. WUI communities reflect a wide range of social characteristics, preventing an effective “one-size-fits-all” approach to CWPP creation. Read the full Bulletin.
The field of adaptive management has been embraced by researchers and managers in the United States as an approach to improve natural resource stewardship in the face of uncertainty and complex environmental problems. Integrating multiple knowledge sources and feedback mechanisms is an important step in this approach. Our objective is to contribute to the limited literature that describes the benefits of better integrating indigenous knowledge (IK) with other sources of knowledge in making adaptive-management decisions. Specifically, we advocate the integration of traditional phenological knowledge (TPK), a subset of IK, and highlight opportunities for this knowledge to support policy and practice of adaptive management with reference to policy and practice of adapting to uncharacteristic fire regimes and climate change in the western United States.
Read full article.
Persistence of natural populations of the federally listed desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in the Mojave and western Sonoran Desert partly depends on habitat quality. Tortoises must obtain
protection (provided by native shrubs offering cover and shade), soil microsites free from harmful contaminants for digging burrows, digestible and nutritionally rich forage (typically provided by certain annual and perennial forbs), and drinking water provided by habitats.
This review synthesizes best-management practices for reducing non-native grasses while increasing native species and desirable features in desert tortoise habitats.
Read more from the California Fire Science Consortium research brief.
In the western US, many landscapes have experienced substantial fire activity in recent decades. This study informs decision making by fire managers. Knowing that fire occurrence, size, and severity are limited by recent wildfires should provide greater flexibility and confidence in managing fire incidents and managing for resource benefit. Specifically, the findings from this study can be used by fire managers to help predict whether a previous fire will act as a fuel treatment based on fire age, forest type, and expected weather.
Learn more from the Northern Rockies Fire Science Network research brief.
Applying salvaged biocrust material to severely disturbed soil rapidly reestablished favorable biocrust characteristics and stabilized soil more than doing nothing. This is likely a useful restoration strategy when unavoidable soil disturbances are planned and there are opportunities to salvage material.
Learn more from the California Fire Science Consortium research brief.
The Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) just completed and published online a synthesis of the biology, ecology, and fire relationships for the greater sage-grouse and Gunnison sage-grouse.
Read the synthesis.
Great Basin Coordination Center issued a Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory for the western and northern Nevada, southeastern Oregon, and southwestern Idaho regions on July 7, 2016.
Low fuel moisture coupled with heavy fine fuel loading after a long period of dry and hot weather over w and n NV, se OR, and sw ID point to continued potential for extreme fire behavior. This threat is especially pronounced in locations with sagebrush with heavy fine fuel loading in the understory; particularly when fires occur in conjunction with sustained winds greater than 20
Read the full report.
FORT COLLINS, Colo., July 11, 2016 – USFS, RMRS News Release -
The health of ecosystems across the West is increasingly impacted by many factors including climate change and drought. This is challenging land managers with a pressing need for more science-based integrated restoration methods. To meet that challenge, scientists from the three western U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service’s research stations – Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest and Rocky Mountain – established a collaborative group called the Western Center for Native Plant Conservation and Restoration Science.
Read the USFS News Release
We examined multiple climate change effects on cattle production for U.S. rangelands to estimate
relative change and identify sources of vulnerability among seven regions. Climate change
effects to 2100 were projected from published models for four elements: forage quantity, vegetation type trajectory, heat stress, and forage variability. Departure of projections from a baseline (2001–2010) was used to estimate vulnerability. Projections show: (1) an increase in forage quantity in northerly regions, (2) a move toward grassier vegetation types overall but with considerable spatial heterogeneity, (3) a rapid increase in the number of heat-stress days across all regions, and (4) higher forage variability for most regions. Results are robust across multiple elements for declining production in southerly and western regions. In northern and interior regions, the benefits of increased net primary productivity or more grassy vegetation are mostly tempered by increases in heat stress and forage variability. Because projected directions of change differed, use of projections for only one element will limit our ability to anticipate impacts and manage for sustained cattle production.
Bareroot or container seedlings can be used to quickly re-establish big sagebrush and other native shrubs in situations where direct seeding is not feasible or unlikely to succeed. Guidelines are provided for developing a planting plan and timeline, arranging for seedling production, and installing and managing outplantings.
This Fact Sheet provides guidelines for maintaining productive sagebrush steppe communities in grazed areas after fire. The focus is on plant communities that, prior to fire, were largely intact and had an understory of native perennial herbaceous species or introduced bunchgrass, rather than invasive annual grass.
For over fifteen years, the Joint Fire Science Program (www.firescience.gov) has funded discovery and innovation used every day by wildland fire managers.
The highest compliment for our work happens when research discoveries are adopted and integrated as standards for fire management professionals.
JFSP now sponsors the Regional Knowledge Exchange. Each Exchange is focused on establishing relationships and discovering priorities of stakeholders interested in wildland fire in their region.