Rapid advancements in wildland fire modeling are promoting innovations in how we characterize and map wildland fuels. Before these models can be widely used, more research on fuel characterization and mapping methods is needed to support3D model inputs. The 3D Fuels Project is characterizing surface and canopy fuels on pine-dominated sites in the southeastern and western United States and western grasslands that represent fuels commonly characterized for prescribed burning. Through this project, researchers are developing a library of tools and datasets to leverage multi-scale estimates of 3D fuel structure and consumption that can be used directly within models of fire behavior and smoke production.
The Advanced Burn Boss Workshop and Fire Science Symposium (click “Log in as Guest” in the event portal) is a combined virtual event that will provide targeted training for burn bosses: RT300, IFTDSS, and smoke modeling, as well as interactive presentations for a wide audience that bridge research and practice using the three pillars of the Cohesive Strategy: Resilient Ecosystems, Fire Adapted Communities, and Safe and Effective Wildfire Response.
Alison Dean, Central Oregon Fire Management Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and Marth Brabec, City of Boise, will provide an overview of historic and modern fire behavior in different communities of the sagebrush biome, shrub steppe ecology, and post-fire restoration considerations.
Improving decision processes and the informational basis upon which decisions are made in pursuit of safer and more effective fire response have become key priorities of the fire research community. One area of emphasis is bridging the gap between fire researchers and managers through development of application-focused, operationally relevant decision support tools. In this paper we focus on a family of such tools designed to characterise the difficulty of suppression operations by weighing suppression challenges against suppression opportunities. These tools integrate potential fire behaviour, vegetation cover types, topography, road and trail networks, existing fuel breaks and fireline production potential to map the operational effort necessary for fire suppression. We include case studies from two large fires in the USA and Spain to demonstrate model updates and improvements intended to better capture extreme fire behaviour and present results demonstrating successful fire containment where suppression difficulty index (SDI) values were low and containment only after a moderation of fire weather where SDI values were high. A basic aim of this work is reducing the uncertainty and increasing the efficiency of suppression operations through assessment of landscape conditions and incorporation of expert knowledge into planning.
In the Western U.S., the 2020 fire season is setting new records in terms of geographic scale, fire intensity, and rates of spread. Tens of millions of people are currently being forced to breathe beneath a dense layer of smoke, as others have lost their lives and property.
With each new record-setting fire, the same question comes up again and again: is this due to climate change, or is this due to forest mismanagement? After dueling appearances on Monday, this question now appears to be a matter of debate in the Presidential campaign.
The climate change vs. management question ignores nuance that is crucial for finding scientific answers and policy solutions. The factors influencing wildfire behavior are complex, and the dominant drivers vary between different locations and events. Below are five key things to know about the causes of the current wildfire problem. Understanding them can help us navigate the question of what is driving increased fire activity and what can be done to reduce such large fires in the future.
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.
Numerical weather prediction (NWP) models can produce high-resolution forecasts of gust front conditions, and identifying these conditions from the model outputs may provide enhanced fire weather guidance. Abrupt changes in wind direction and speed can dramatically impact wildfire development and spread. Most importantly, such changes can pose significant problems to firefighting efforts and have resulted in a number of fire fatalities over the years. Frequent causes of such wind shifts are thunderstorm and convective system outflows, known as gust fronts, and the identification and prediction of these present critical challenges for fire weather forecasters. Anticipating and warning of these phenomena in wildland fire situations thus represent opportunities for enhancing the safety of incident personnel and the effectiveness of the firefighting operations. With these considerations we have developed a software tool to identify and depict convective outflow boundaries in high-resolution numerical weather prediction (NWP) models to provide guidance for fire weather forecasting.
Description: Oregon State University’s Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Fire Program and its partners present a webinar series on Wildfire Preparedness and Prevention in Oregon. The second of three webinars focuses on fire behavior and the home ignition zone (HIZ). We’ll discuss the fire environment and the built environment. Presenters will break down the HIZ and discuss what people can do in each zone. Further, they’ll talk about opportunities to support your mitigation efforts.
Daniel Leavell, Oregon State University
Stephen Fitzgerald, Oregon State University
Jenna Trentadue, Oregon Department of Forestry
Ryan Gordon, Oregon Department of Forestry
Megan Fitzgerald-McCowan, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Firewise USA