Climate & Fire & Adaptation

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Wildfire, Weather, Water, Weeds, Wildlife Symposium

Symposium resources.

This Symposium:

  • Examined agency/utility wildfire safety, mitigation measures and resiliency planning for future fire weather
  • Promoted learning about research focused on wildfire effects on water quality (sediment, contaminants) and water supply in our region and how we can improve our practices
  • Discussed how forests, shrublands and rivers are recovering or being impacted by invasive plants and biodiversity loss
  • Promoted understand how state and local agencies are preparing and responding to increased threat of wildfire
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Wildfire and climate change adaptation of western US forests: A case for intentional management

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Hagmann et al. (in press) review a century of observations and multi-scale, multi-proxy research evidence that details widespread changes in forested landscapes and wildfire regimes since the influx of European colonists. Over the preceding 10 millennia, large areas of wNA were already settled and proactively managed with intentional burning by Indigenous tribes. Prichard et al. (in press) then review the research on management practices historically applied by Indigenous tribes and currently applied by some managers to intentionally manage forests for resilient conditions. They address ten questions surrounding the application and relevance of these management practices. Here, we highlight the main findings of both papers and offer recommendations for management. We discuss progress paralysis that often occurs with strict adherence to the precautionary principle; offer insights for dealing with the common problem of irreducible uncertainty and suggestions for reframing management and policy direction; and identify key knowledge gaps and research needs.

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Fire and Climate: Impacts, Issues, and Futures

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Fire and Climate 2022 will bring attention to one of the most important forces shaping wildfire and better prepare how we can focus and respond to this formidable challenge in the new decade. This conference will feature insights, case studies, innovations and opinions from around the world to begin to form a collective, global approach to the wildfire challenge. California has been at the forefront of innovation in wildland fire management and holding a conference in California to fully leverage the lessons learned and adaptive behaviors that will continue to emerge after the Camp Fire will benefit the entire international wildland fire community.

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Beyond planning tools: Experiential learning in climate adaptation planning and practices

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Here, we describe a training approach that we developed to help managers effectively plan to execute intentional, climate-informed actions. This training approach was developed through the Climate Change Response Framework (CCRF) and uses active and focused work time and peer-to-peer interaction to overcome observed barriers to using adaptation planning tools. We evaluate the effectiveness of this approach by examining participant evaluations and outlining the progress of natural resources projects that have participated in our trainings. We outline a case study that describes how this training approach can lead to place and context-based climate-informed action. Finally, we describe best practices based on our experience for engaging natural resources professionals and helping them increase their comfort with climate-informed planning.

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Fire science and management in an uncertain future: Tools and approaches for managing fire in future climates in the SW

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Workshop purpose: Identify fire science and management needs and discuss tools and approaches to natural resource assessments and adaptation strategies for fire dynamics in future climates in Southwest (DOI Regions 8 & 10 [CA, NV, AZ]) bioregions.

Take-Aways:
Provide awareness of tools needed for decision-making in an uncertain future
Generate a list of new science actions to meet fire needs for practitioners/planners in future, non-analog landscapes and communities
Suggest how we might address and accomplish these identified needs going forward
Exchange Information
Make connections

This four-hour, virtual Summit was an abbreviated, rescheduled version of ‘Building Bridges and Solutions: Partners in Facing Fire-Science Challenges’ that was cancelled in April due to COVID-19. We assembled scientists and fire practitioners/leaders in an interagency effort to identify fire science and management needs and to discuss decision-making tools and approaches that address resource assessments and adaptation strategies for fire dynamics in future climates in the Southwest (Department of Interior [DOI] Regions 8 and 10 [CA, NV, AZ]). This overriding goal threaded together the Summit’s talks, Q&A, and break-out sessions. Speakers from various agencies, institutes, and academia focused on fire management and planning in future non-analog landscapes and climate-fire-ecosystem impact relationships in western forest (e.g., mixed-conifer, subalpine), desert (hot and cold, grassland, pinyon-juniper, sage-steppe), and Mediterranean/chaparral bioregions. Syntheses from talks, Mentimeter-conducted discussions, and break-out groups on management and actionable-science needs will be summarized in a white paper and posted on the Southwest, Great Basin, and California Fire Science Exchange websites. Let’s work together to address fire science and management in an uncertain future!

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Adapting research, management, and governance to confront socioecological uncertainties in novel ecosystems

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Wildland research, management, and policy in western democracies have long relied on concepts of equilibrium: succession, sustained yield, stable age or species compositions, fire return intervals, and historical range of variability critically depend on equilibrium assumptions. Not surprisingly, these largely static concepts form the basis for societal expectations, dominant management paradigms, and environmental legislation. Knowledge generation has also assumed high levels of stasis, concentrating on correlational patterns with the expectation that these patterns would be reliably transferrable. Changes in climate, the introduction of large numbers of exotic organisms, and anthropogenic land conversion are leading to unprecedented changes in disturbance regimes and landscape composition. Importantly, these changes are largely non-reversable; once introduced exotic species are seldom eradicated, climates will continue to warm for the foreseeable future, and many types of land conversion cannot be easily undone.

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Climate, land use, and fire: Can models inform management?

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Studies such as those highlighted in this Research Topic showcase that models provide advances in understanding and provide outcomes that can inform management while being critically challenged and improved by collaborations with field practitioners. Ongoing changes in environmental and societal landscapes and their collective impacts on fire regimes reinforces the need to develop tools that provide guidance how fire management can be used to mitigate fire risk. Bringing together modelers, field ecologists, managers, and practitioners to share their respective knowledge will not only facilitate the development of effective adaptation strategies but also create better science. As Thomas Kuhn simply stated it, the answers you get depend upon the questions you ask and managers do have many questions for the scientists.

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The timeline of climate, weather and fire

Webinar recording.

Climatology Research Professor Tim Brown, also director of the Western Regional Climate Center, will discuss how weather and climate influence fire in Nevada.

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Nevada Wildfire Awareness Campaign: Webinar Series

Campaign webpage.

Firewise landscaping, May 10, 11:30–1 PDT, Webinar recording

  • This webinar is presented with the University’s Wendy Hanson Mazet, Certified Arborist, and Extension Plant Diagnostician. She has expertise in horticulture, arboriculture, noxious weeds, and vegetable and low water use gardening.

Wildfire evacuation preparedness, May 13, 11:30–1 PDT, Webinar recording

  • This webinar is presented with the University’s Osher Life Learning Institute, a member-driven organization offering short-term educational experiences for older adults in northern Nevada. Deputy Emergency Manager Jason Danen, with the Carson City Fire Department, will speak about emergency notification systems such as Code Red and other forms of communication to the public during a wildfire. In addition, Skyland Fire Adapted Communities’ Leader and Douglas County Community Emergency Response Team Member Ann Grant will discuss items to prepare for an evacuation go bag and a stay box.

Perspectives of a wildland fire investigator, May 18, 11:30–1 PDT, Webinar recording

  • Fire Mitigation and Education Specialist/Fire Trespass Coordinator Bradley Milam, with the Bureau of Land Management, will share wildfire investigation experiences. Forest Fire Prevention Officer Jennifer Diamond, with the U.S. Forest Service – Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, will share some fire prevention tips.

The timeline of climate, weather and fire, June 10, 11:30–1 PDT, Webinar recording

  • Climatology Research Professor Tim Brown, also director of the Western Regional Climate Center, will discuss how weather and climate influence fire in Nevada.

Protect, prevent and prepare with NV energy, June 24, 12–1:30 PDT, Powerpoint presentation

  • Natural Disaster Protection Plan Director James Saavdra and Director of Delivery Operations Zeina Randall, both with NV Energy, will discuss how NV Energy is working with customers and partners using innovative strategies to reduce the risk of wildfire to Nevadans.

Wildfire smoke and health, July 8, 11:30– 1 PDT, Webinar recording

  • Meteorologist and Public Information Officer Chris Smallcomb, from the National Weather Service – Reno office, will discuss smoke forecasting and models used to predict smoke. Air Quality Specialist Brendan Schnieder, with the Washoe County Health District’s Air Quality Management Division, will discuss wildfire smoke and health impacts.

Home hardening Q&A, Aug. 12, 11:30– 1 PDT, Webinar recording

  • Living With Fire will host a question-and-answer workshop with Steve Quarles, who is both University of California Cooperative Extension Advisor Emeritus and the retired Chief Scientist for Wildfire and Durability, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety Research Center. The session will focus on “home hardening,” defined as building or retrofitting homes to withstand wildfire. Watch a previous presentation on this topic online.

Reseeding and flood after wildfire, Sept. 9, 11:30–1 PDT, Webinar recording

  • Forester Anna Higgins with the Nevada Division of Forestry, Ecologist Mark Freese with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, and Project Manager Danae Olson with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will discuss reseeding landscapes, and preparing for potential flood after wildfire.

Prescribed fire in Tahoe and Nevada, Oct. 14, 11:30–1 PDT, Webinar registration

  • Fuels Management Officer Keegan Schafer with Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District and Forest Fuels and Vegetation Program Manager Duncan Leao with the U.S. Forest Service – Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest will discuss prescribed fire and projects in the Lake Tahoe Basin and Nevada.
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Nevada Society for Range Management Suggested Reading – Spring 2021

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These abstracts of recent papers on rangeland management in the West were prepared by Charlie Clements, Rangeland Scientist, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Reno, NV.

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