Fuels & Fuel Treatments

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IFTDSS for prescribed fire plans

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You can enroll yourself in this on-demand online course once you enter the Wildland Fire Learning Portal. Select “How to Use IFTDSS for Rx Burn Plans” on the righthand side.

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Westwide Fuel Assessment: June 2022 (S3 E3 of Reading the Tea Leaves)

Webinar recording.

The cool wet spring across much of the northwestern US has created a sea of cheatgrass that has improved fuelbed continuity and fuel loading, often exceeding 200 percent of normal. As a result we expect the potential for grass driven wildfires, especially in the Snake River Plain, eastern Washington, northwestern Nevada and northeastern California to be at least average to considerably above average.

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Denver water and US Forest Service spent over $60 million to protect Denver’s water supply. Did it work?

Webinar recording.

This webinar presents research which provides insight on how the economic returns from proactive wildfire mitigation could be improved. The research team produced an economic assessment of Denver’s Forests to Faucets partnership, a collaboration which invested >$60 million in wildfire mitigation projects between 2011 and 2019. The research, combining wildfire modeling, sediment modeling, and primary and secondary data on economic values, quantified the impact of the actual investments on multiple values at risk. Large benefits to source water protection and other values at risk resulted from these proactive investments but the benefits only exceed the costs of funding wildfire mitigation under certain conditions.

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Policy reforms for Rx fire liability relief and catastrophe funds

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This paper argues that the expansion of prescribed fire will require new public policies that both protect burn practitioners from liability and compensate for losses from potential fire escapes.

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Assessing how fuel treatments are considered during incident response

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Study findings revealed that consistent treatment maintenance, the culture of communication about treatments, local expert knowledge, and unit/team composition are important components of how fuel treatments are evaluated and integrated during incident response.

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A-to-Z guide to biochar production, use, and benefits

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This “A-Z guide” highlights recent Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) science and covers methods to make biochar on site, including using piles, kilns, and air curtain burners. It also details three uses for biochar  (agricultural, forest restoration, and mine land reclamation), and methods for application, including biochar spreaders.

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Policy reforms for Rx fire liability relief and catastrophe funds

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This paper argues that the expansion of prescribed fire will require new public policies that both protect burn practitioners from liability and compensate for losses from potential fire escapes.

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Firesheds at a glance

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The Fireshed Registry is a geospatial dashboard for land managers and decision makers to view and map a vast array of data related to wildfire transmission, past, present, and future management, and past and predicted  wildfires. The Registry covers the full continental U.S and includes 192 million hectares of forest land. Fireshed delineations within the tool are not limited by administrative, jurisdictional, or other anthropogenic boundaries.

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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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Fuel reduction treatments reduce modeled fire intensity in the sagebrush steppe

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This study used the Fuel and Fire Tool fire behavior modeling program to test whether treatments impacted potential fire behavior. Prescribed fire initially removed 49% of the total fuel load and 75% of shrubs, and fuel loads remained reduced through Year 10. Mowing shifted fuels from the shrub canopy to the ground surface but did not change the total fuel amount. Prescribed fire and mowing increased herbaceous fuel by the second posttreatment year and that trend persisted through Year 10. Tebuthiuron treatments were ineffective at altering fuel loads. Imazapic suppressed herbaceous vegetation by 30% in Years 2 and 3 following treatment. The modified fuel beds in fire and mow treatments resulted in modeled flame lengths that were significantly lower than untreated control plots for the duration of the study, with shorter term reductions in reaction intensity and rate of spread. Understanding fuel treatment effectiveness will allow natural resource managers to evaluate trade-offs between protecting wildlife habitat and reducing the potential for high-intensity wildfire.

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