This working paper describes how Air Resource Advisors use smoke modeling and monitoring tools to build a toolkit for fire managers and to improve public communication.
RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS
This represents the first phase of a project investigating policies that limit managers’ ability
to conduct prescribed fire on US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
lands in the 11 Western states.
In areas where fire is no longer a safe treatment, many land managers are stepping up to fill the role once played by wildfire.
Wildfires are far more likely to result in harmful air quality and public health impacts than
prescribed fires because they are unplanned and typically are much larger.
Overall, mulching treatments in three Colorado conifer forest types promoted denser and more diverse native understory plant communities, particularly over the longer-term.
This technical note provides conservation practitioners with information on simple yet effective “Zeedyk” restoration techniques
Pinyon jays present both a conservation challenge and a paradox. While the species has declined, its preferred habitat (pinyon-juniper woodlands) has expanded, and in some areas to a large extent.
Recently published research can help land managers to identify important hubs and pathways of genetic connectivity for greater sage-grouse.
This study used historical and projected weather to predict changes in landscape composition and structure under two different climates, three restoration strategies, and two different fire management scenarios.
This study introduces a number of newer concepts and methods related to transboundary risk governance for the state of Arizona.
he Western Governors’ Association (WGA) has addressed this need by surveying invasive species coordinators in WGA member states and territories Top 50 Invasive Species in the West to develop the “Top 50 Invasive Species in the West.”
Smoke from wildfires is a public health concern. Smoke affected the entire Pacific Northwest region in 2015, and again in 2017.
Conservancy scientists working in rangelands and forests are engaged in many efforts to understand, cope with or avoid the effects of these fires.
This report concerns a small facet of the JFSP-funded MASTIDON study in which summaries of the physical and chemical fuel properties of the sampled masticated fuelbeds were presented and the relationships of these properties to fuel age were explored.
Over the past decade, the overarching American wildfire narrative has become fairly focused on three dynamics: fuels buildup due to suppression, climate change, and the expanding wildland-urban interface (WUI). But what are these narratives based on?
The study's key findings:
- The use of airborne LiDAR in conjunction with our experimentally-derived understanding of the effects of wildland landscape conditions on travel efficiency stands to greatly improve the efficiency, consistency, and accuracy with which wildland firefighter escape routes can be designated on the ground
Through one case study in Lake County, Oregon, we examined voluntary landowner conservation
as part of an Oregon-wide strategy to preclude listing of greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Smoke is challenging. It can be lofted high into the atmosphere to interact with cloud processes. It can smolder near the ground, depositing emissions. The combination of aerosols and trace gases create their own chemical mix, with reactions that are as yet unidentified.
This study used a team with widely diverse expertise that gathered information from private, state, federal, and tribal landowners about their current forest and fire management practices and then built a computer model that can be used to facilitate collaborative decision making about forest. management in fire-prone environments.
In this paper, the authors describe an approach to facilitate development and implementation of climate change adaptation options in forest management which they applied to a case study area in southwestern Oregon, USA.
Researchers found that while severity was reduced at all sites, the spatial distribution of fire severity within the treatment areas varied by treatment type and unit as well as which fire severity metric they were analyzing.
The Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) and the Great Basin Fire Science Exchange would like to hear from you!
View research brief.
This brief summarizes work by researchers who modeled exactly how problematic the grass-fire cycle could be for non-fire-adapted desert shrublands under three sets of climate conditions.
This brief provides an overview of the JFSP's mission, values, science delivery focus, and unique role in the greater fire science community - including leveraging partnerships for the greater good.
View research brief.
Fire is a strong driver of changes in montane forest structure in California’s Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade mountain ranges, which provide much of the snowpack and associated water storage for the state of California. A recent study by Stevens presented one of the first direct investigations in California of how fire can influence snowpack depth.
View research brief.
This study examined bark beetle mortality for two-years after fuel reduction treatment in mid-elevation mixed conifer forests at the University of California Blodgett Research Forest. As part of the National Fire and Fire Surrogate Study, the experimental treatments included prescribed fire (fire), mastication, the combination of the two, and a control.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), through its Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI), is there to empower ranchers to make well-balanced improvements on their ranching operations that are good for wildlife living in sagebrush country, as well as their business’s bottom line.
The Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) Fire Science Exchange Network is a national collaboration of 15 regional fire science exchanges that provides the most relevant, current wildland fire science information to federal, state, local, tribal, and private stakeholders within ecologically similar regions. The network brings fire managers, practitioners, and scientists together to address regional fire management needs and challenges.
View fact sheet.
The CONSERVATION EFFORTS DATABASE (CED) was codeveloped by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative (GNLCC):
- USFWS provided a comprehensive ecological assessment separated by threats and efforts, and database structure based on user needs.
- USGS provided database and website design expertise building off of the Land Treatment Digital Library.
- GNLCC provided ecological, database, and GIS expertise, greatly enhancing CED capabilities.
Many state and federal partners provided input and feedback, ranging from design recommendations to policy sideboards, ensuring the CED has broad applicability and interoperability
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), through its Sage Grouse Initiative, works to empower ranchers to make well-balanced improvements on their ranching operations that are good for wildlife living in sagebrush country, as well as their business’ bottom line.
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 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.
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).
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This four-page fact sheet is brought to you by the Sage Grouse Initiative.
A new fact sheet based on the research of Andrew Lybbert (MS, Brigham Young University) is now available. Lybbert works to better understand how fire affects the reproductive success of native perennial plants and the pollinating insect communities they depend on.
In the ecological battle against invasive annual grasses in the desert, land managers have pulled no punches.
Mar 19, 2014
Small mammals can have a big impact when it comes to rehabilitating land after a fire. Tiffanny Sharp (MS candidate, BYU) has spent several years trapping animals like the deer mouse at Rush Valley and Merriam’s kangaroo rat at Lytle Ranch to determine what kind of impact they have. A new fact sheet on her research is now available from Desert FMP.
After setting forth the relevant air quality framework, this Article argues that decisions regarding planned wildfire are marred by an anachronistic and inaccurate distinction between "natural" and "anthropogenic" fire.
The Great Basin Landscape Conservation Cooperative is convening a Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (STEK) working group to help identify key research and management needs over the next 3-5 years.
View this research brief from the California Fire Science Consortium
The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is a focal species in land use planning in the Great Basin.
In the long term, land managers need to plan for a warmer climate on a time scale of decades, or even a century or more, to better reflect the life span of trees and forests.
Basics of fire ecology and management in the Sierra Nevada and northern California mixed-conifer forests from our partners at the California Fire Science Consortium.
The Bureau of Reclamation and collaborators developed new downscaled climate projections that allow water managers to incorporate the new Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project Phase 5 data from the World Climate Research Program into their water management planning.
Authors Erik J. Martinson and Philip N. Omi employed meta-analysis and information theory to synthesize findings reported in the literature on the effects of fuel treatments on subsequent fire intensity and severity.
Publication brief from the Western Ecological Research Center on Diorhabda beetles, tamarisk control and fire behavior.
Biondi et al., 2013. Research brief from the California Fire Science Consortium.
Allen et al., 2013. Research brief from the California Fire Science Consortium.
At this point we are particularly interested in obtaining freshly harvested seed from wildland sites or agricultural seed fields, but stored seed would also be useful.
The effects of resource benefit fires in ponderosa pine and pinyon juniper.
Are beetles setting the stage for larger, more severe wildfires? And are fires bringing on the beetle epidemics? This Joint Fire Science Program brief addresses these issues and more.
Invasive plants and fire create substantial challenges for land managers in the deserts of North America. Invasive plants can compete with native plants, alter wildlife habitat, and promote the spread of fire where it was historically infrequent.
We provide an overview of recent and ongoing invasive species research conducted by Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists in the Intermountain West in order to familiarize managers with the Station and its products. We also provide several links to continuously updated web sites and a periodic newsletter that covers Rocky Mountain Research Station's invasives species research.
by Steve Knick, Steve Hanser, and Matthias Leu
This is a follow-up to an article describing the SageSTEP bird work in Issue 17, pp. 4-5.
Songbirds are often used as indicators of change in vegetation communities. Most songbirds have a high visibility and their numbers are relatively easy to estimate from surveys of calls by singing males during the breeding season. Any change in number of birds or species counted on these surveys then can provide evidence that habitats differ among locations or that the environmental template has changed either due to a long-term trend or a short-term response to a management treatments.
The study, the results of which are published in a recent issue of the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, provides a scientific basis for establishing quantitative guidelines for reducing stand densities and surface fuels.
USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Plant Guides & Fact Sheets.