Decision Support

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Ready, set, go! and Camp Fire lessons learned videos

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WildfireSAFE

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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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Sharing Science and Lessons Learned: COVID-19 and Wildfire

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Description: As COVID-19 cases and wildland fire activity increase across the country, wildland fire personnel are looking for ways to quickly identify cases and prevent the spread of the disease on the fireline. The Southwest Fire Consortium will be hosting a webinar sharing information about the current state of the science and lessons learned from the 2020 wildfire season.

Presenters: Kathleen Navarro and John Piacentino from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH); Alex Viktora, from the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center will provide a summary of the lessons learned from the 2020 wildland fire season; Jayson Coil from Sedona Fire will provide a view from the field after multiple fire assignments in the Southwest.

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Wildland Fire Decision Support System: End user perspectives

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The increasing complexity of wildland fire management highlights the importance of sound decision making. Numerous fire management decision support systems (FMDSS) are designed to enhance science and technology delivery or assist fire managers with decision-making tasks. However, few scientific efforts have explored the adoption and use of FMDSS by fire managers. This research couples existing decision support system research and in-depth interviews with US Forest Service fire managers to explore perspectives surrounding the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS). Results indicate that fire managers appreciate many WFDSS components but view it primarily as a means to document fire management decisions. They describe on-the-ground actions that can be disconnected with decisions developed in WFDSS, which they attribute to the timeliness of WFDSS outputs, the complexity of the WFDSS design, and how it was introduced to managers. We conclude by discussing how FMDSS development could address concerns raised by managers.

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Low-tech wet meadow restoration: Reading the landscape

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Wet or mesic meadows are rare but disproportionately important habitats within western rangelands. Gully erosion and channel incision are widespread problems reducing natural resiliency and water storage capacity, which is impacting wildlife and working lands. Simple, low-tech restoration methods using sticks and stones provide effective tools for protecting and restoring meadow systems. While there is no shortage of degraded areas that need help across the West, there is a shortage of time and money to address them. In this webinar, Jeremy and Shawn will introduce participants to how to use Bill Zeedyk’s principles of “Reading the Landscape and Thinking like Water” to recognize and prioritize meadow restoration.

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FIRE-BIRD wildlife habitat tool

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Description: Webinar discusses discuss FIRE-BIRD, an ArcGIS spatial tool for applying habitat suitability models for woodpecker species of concern to generate maps that inform forest management planning. FIRE-BIRD was developed to help managers make the best decisions for maintaining habitat of key wildlife species, while still allowing economic benefits to local communities. Habitat suitability models can inform forest management for wildlife species of conservation concern. Models quantify relationships between known species locations and environmental attributes, which are used to identify areas most likely to support species of concern. Managers can then limit negative human impacts in areas of high suitability or conduct habitat improvements in areas of marginal suitability. RMRS researchers developed FIRE-BIRD, an ArcGIS toolbox, to map habitat suitability for woodpeckers of conservation concern to help inform locations for management activities in predominantly dry coniferous forests of the Inland Northwest and Northern Sierras..

Presenters: Vicki Saab and Todd Cross, RMRS researchers

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Adaptive governance and the administrative state: Knowledge management for forest planning in the western United States

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Scholarship on adaptive governance emphasizes the importance of institutional flexibility, collaboration, and social networks for linking knowledge to action across scales of socio-ecological organization. However, a major gap in our knowledge exists around the design of policies that can support the generation and application of knowledge across levels of decision-making in natural resource management agencies such as the US Forest Service. To address this gap, we conducted a qualitative study, consisting of interviews with Forest Service staff and external partners, to investigate challenges and opportunities for improved knowledge management in the context of ecological monitoring for federal forest planning in the western United States. We found that decentralized decision-making structures, limited formalization for knowledge management processes, and scarce institutional resources interact to create barriers for effective knowledge management and adaptive decision-making. However, we also found there are opportunities for improving knowledge management through administrative policy tools such as partnerships, centralized budgetary authority and coordination, formal administrative and collaborative processes, and investment in administrative knowledge brokers at different levels of the agency. Our findings underscore the importance of bureaucratic organization and research on administrative policy design for operationalizing elements of adaptive governance in state institutions

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Bridging the research-management gap: Landscape science in practice on public lands in the western US

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This study provide several recent examples related to landscape monitoring, restoration, reclamation, and conservation in which landscape science products were developed specifically to support decision-making. The paper highlights three actions—elevating the importance of science-management partnerships dedicated to coproducing actionable landscape science products, identifying where landscape science could foster efficiencies in the land-use planning process, and developing scenario-based landscape models for shrublands—that could improve landscape science support for public land planners and managers.

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State-and-Transition Simulation Model (ST-Sim)

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Using computer-aided modeling, land management teams can use ST-Sim to document or justify management actions in forthcoming forest plans and NEPA documentation. ST-Sim allows managers to ask landscape-wide “what-if” questions based on different management regimes and land treatments while estimating interactions with expected climate changes. With this tool, the scientists are able to provide land managers with worst-case and best-case scenarios under different conditions.

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Wildfire risk science facilitates adaptation of fire-prone social-ecological systems

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This study presents a novel risk-science approach that aligns wildfire response decisions, mitigation opportunities, and land management objectives by consciously integrating social, ecological and fire management system needs. We use fire-prone landscapes of the US Pacific Northwest as our study area, and report on and describe how three complementary risk-based analytic tools—quantitative wildfire risk assessment, mapping of suppression difficulty, and atlases of potential control locations—can form the foundation for adaptive governance in fire management. Together, these tools integrate wildfire risk with fire management difficulties and opportunities, providing a more complete picture of the wildfire risk management challenge. Leveraging recent and ongoing experience integrating local experiential knowledge with these tools, we provide examples and discuss how these geospatial datasets create a risk-based planning structure that spans multiple spatial scales and uses.

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