Tools and Trainings

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The return of fire

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Fire researchers discuss the return of fire to western U.S. landscapes in the context of wildfire history.

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Up in smoke: Fire and invasives on western rangelands

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Sagebrush rangelands once covered nearly 250 million acres in western North America. Today, this landscape has been reduced to half its original size and is rapidly shrinking. Fire is a primary culprit and is fueled by annual invasive grasses. These rangelands help drive our nation’s economy through energy, recreation, and livestock production and are home to critical regional water resources. Equally important, these lands are wildlife meccas and provide habitat for some 350 species.

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Cheatgrass in sagebrush country: Fueling severe wildfires

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This video that captures the beauty of sagebrush country and provides information on cheatgrass’s serious threat. Intermountain West Joint Venture provided additional quality video on cheatgrass.

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Basin on the brink

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The Gunnison sage-grouse has withstood millennia of changes in Western Colorado. But now the species faces extinction as the invasive plant cheatgrass invades its last refuge—the remote Gunnison Basin. Basin residents now have a choice to make. Do they take drastic steps to combat cheatgrass? Or do they let cheatgrass-fueled wildfires snuff out a beautiful, bizarre and iconic species?

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Reading the tea leaves: A westwide rangeland fuel assessment

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Hosted by Matt Reeves, using Microsoft Teams, click the “Watch on web instead” link to view.

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Cheating cheatgrass

View short video (2:49).

ARS scientists at the Great Basin Rangelands Research Unit in Reno, NV, have found success using pre-emergent herbicides as part of an integrated management plan to control cheatgrass, an aggressive, invasive weed from central Asia.

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Access WildfireSAFE

WildfireSAFE provides simplified access to an advanced suite of fire weather and fire products. The Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS) is a USDA Forest Service, Fire and Aviation Management-supported system that was developed by Forest Service fire behavior researchers as an avenue to increase the utility of remote sensing and spatial data in fire management. It is an integrated, web-based resource to support fire management decisions. It provides multi-temporal and multi-spatial views of fire weather and fire potential, including fuel moistures and fire danger classes from the US National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS), Keetch-Byram and Palmer drought indices, lower atmospheric stability and satellite-derived vegetation conditions. It also provides access to fire potential forecasts from 24 hours to 7 days. Wildfire SAFE integrates WFAS with federal agency incidents to provide targeted fire weather information on an incident basis.

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RangeSAT – Satellite-based assessment tools for rangelands

Visit RangeSAT website

RangeSAT uses satellite data to generate maps and graphs of vegetation across pastures, ranches, and allotments. Using the record of Landsat data going back to 1984, the interface lets users easily view maps of vegetation amounts across their ranch or management area, at a single point in time or averaged across a month or a season. Vegetation amounts can also be displayed as graphs, allowing users to compare current vegetation amounts to past time periods. Climate variables (precipitation, potential evapotranspiration) can also be viewed alongside graphs of vegetation throughout a growing season.

RangeSAT is an ongoing project being developed at the University of Idaho, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, Oregon Ranchers, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Northwest Climate Hub.

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Climate Engine – Cloud computing and visualization of climate and remote sensing data

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Climate Engine uses Google’s Earth Engine for on-demand processing of satellite and climate data via a web browser.

Features include:

  • On-demand value and anomaly mapping
  • Time series and statistical summaries
  • Downloadable results in GeoTIFF format, and time series results as .csv or .xlsx format
  • Share map or time series results with web URL links
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Rangeland Technology and Equipment Council

Visit the RTEC website.

The Rangeland Technology and Equipment Council (RTEC) is an informal organization of land managers, engineers, researchers, academics, and private industry representatives interested in developing new rehabilitation equipment and strategies.

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