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The western fire problem – a story map of five regions with different fire challenges

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But over the past few decades, wildfires have worsened by almost every metric. It’s impossible to ignore this new consequence of environmental change. Fires are getting larger, more severe, more destructive and dangerous, and eliminating entire patches of forests, grasslands, and shrublands.

The combination of changing climate, extreme weather, land use, aggressive fire suppression policies, and wildland urban interface expansion have contributed to altered fire behavior regimes. And all of these past and current factors are converging in a big way in the western U.S. Today’s megafires pose an increasing threat to human health, infrastructure, natural resources, and ecosystem resilience.

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FireEarth: Understanding what makes people vulnerable to wildfire

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This StoryMap is an overview of some of the work undertaken by FireEarth scientists, serving as an introduction to the project. FireEarth is not a standalone endeavor, as the work draws on past and concurrent efforts in the field of wildfire science, which are referenced when applicable.

The StoryMap is organized around 13 main sections: 1) About the FireEarth StoryMap, 2) An Introduction to Wildfire, 3) FireEarth’s Goal, 4) Cascading Consequences of Fire, 5) Erosion and Runoff, 6) Cascading Consequence: Fire Intensity Impacts, 7) Regional Hydro-Ecologic Simulation System (RHESSys), 8) Smoke and Air Pollution, 9) Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Wildfire, 10) Community Adaptation to Fire, 11) Biomimicry: Copying Nature to Coexist with Fire, 12) Conclusion, and 13) All FireEarth-Supported Papers.

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Marshall Fire: Facilitated learning analysis

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On a dry winter morning between Christmas and New Year’s Eve 2021, the communities in Boulder County braced for the wind. The area lies at the base of the Front Range, made up of flat-topped mesas and open grasslands where creek bottoms are lined with cottonwood trees. On the outskirts of the communities are scattered homes and ranchettes. Farther east are established neighborhoods with mature landscaping and newer subdivisions sparsely planted with shrubs and ornamental hardwoods. Green corridors and trails run through the area.

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Adapting western US forests to climate change and wildfires: 10 common questions

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Forests in western North America are shaped by fire and — for the past century or more — by the absence of it. After more than a century of fire exclusion and under a rapidly changing climate, fire behavior has changed, and damage from wildfire is increasing. With more than a century of forest and fire science to build on, scientists, managers, and communities are refining management options for reducing risks to communities and ecosystems.

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How wildfire threaten US water supplies

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Communities across the United States and the globe rely on clean water flowing from forested watersheds. But these water source areas are impacted by the effects of wildfire. To help water providers and land managers prepare for impacts from wildfire on water supplies, the U.S. Geological Survey is working to measure and predict post-fire water quality and quantity.

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Basic fire facts- A story map from NW Fire Science Consortium

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This Fire Facts guide was created to provide basic wildfire information, background, terminology, and resources to increase your knowledge and understanding of wildland fire and the ways we can all contribute to better fire outcomes.

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Fuels treatments ease fire behavior in Pack Creek – A story map

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The Pack Creek Wildfire, ignited by an abandoned campfire, started early in the fire season on June 9, 2021 in the Pack Creek Day Use Area on the Manti-La Sal National Forest.

Under the influence of down-slope, down-canyon winds, the fire made a push west and down Pack Creek. The fire quickly exploded as a crown fire through a riparian area composed largely of cottonwood trees and pinyon and juniper landscapes. Within the community, fuel breaks implemented by Forestry, Fire and State Lands (State of Utah, FFSL) were designed to act as intermittent catch points for firefighters to actively engage the fire.

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Great Basin challenges and the GBFSE products to address them

View our 10-year highlights in this Story Map.

For a decade, the Great Basin Fire Science Exchange (GBFSE) has supported fire, fuels, and restoration research and outreach in the region. We accelerate awareness, adoption, and implementation of fire science by providing a forum for managers, scientists, policy makers, and the public to interact and share. As one of 15 regional fire science exchanges sponsored by the Joint Fire Science Program, we organize and disseminate current research, make connections, and support long-term relationships between practitioners, managers, and researchers to improve the health of Great Basin ecosystems. From climate to communication, we’ve tackled the toughest issues facing managers and stakeholders in a stressed and changing environment. On our 10-year anniversary, we review our accomplishments and look to future challenges.

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Innovations in biochar

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Biochar is a modern technology that returns carbon to the soil in the form of long-lasting charcoal. It’s made by baking biomass (such as tree wood, plants, manure, and other organic materials) without the oxygen that could cause it to burn completely to ash.

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Restoring sagebrush with ‘Modern Wildfire’

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Decades of overgrazing and wildfire suppression have let juniper trees grow large and spread far across sagebrush country, reducing habitat for sage grouse and other wildlife, and creating conditions for catastrophic wildfires.

In areas where fire is no longer a safe treatment, many land managers are stepping up to fill the role once played by wildfire.

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