Post-fire Environment & Management

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How vulnerable are states to wildfire: A livelihood assessment

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We produce a framework needed to compute the livelihood vulnerability index (LVI) for the top 14 American States that are most exposed to wildfires, based on the 2019 Wildfire Risk report of the acreage size burnt in 2018 and 2019: Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The LVI is computed for each State by first considering the State’s exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity to wildfire events (known as the three contributing factors). These contributing factors are determined by a set of indictor variables (vulnerability metrics) that are categorized into corresponding major component groups. The framework structure is then justified by performing a principal component analysis (PCA) to ensure that each selected indicator variable corresponds to the correct contributing factor. The LVI for each State is then calculated based on a set of algorithms relating to our framework. LVI values rank between 0 (low LVI) to 1 (high LVI). Our results indicate that Arizona and New Mexico experience the greatest livelihood vulnerability, with an LVI of 0.57 and 0.55, respectively. In contrast, California, Florida, and Texas experience the least livelihood vulnerability to wildfires (0.44, 0.35, 0.33 respectively). LVI is strongly weighted on its contributing factors and is exemplified by the fact that even though California has one of the highest exposures and sensitivity to wildfires, it has very high adaptive capacity measures in place to withstand its livelihood vulnerability. Thus, States with relatively high wildfire exposure can exhibit relatively lower livelihood vulnerability because of adaptive capacity measures in place.

Forest fire behind a lake

Wildfire, fish, and water scarcity in Utah

Webinar registration with donation.

In-person tickets, $7.

Description: Utah has experienced several of the largest fires in state history in the past few years, leaving large scars in our forests and degrading air quality, fish habitat, and water resources. Why is the fire regime changing and what is it expected to look like in the future? What are the implications for Utah’s water? Patrick Belmont will explore these questions and discuss ways we could better manage our forests, fires, fish, and water resources to ensure better outcomes in the future.

Presenter: Patrick Belmont is a Professor and Head of the Department of Watershed Sciences at Utah State University. His research spans many disciplines…hydrology, ecology, fire science, erosion and climatology, in order to study watersheds as integrated systems. And he is constantly working to make science useful for policy and management.

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Effects of post-fire management on vegetation and fuels following successive wildfires in mixed conifer forests

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Results of our study suggest that post-fire vegetation structure and woody fuels play an important role in subsequent fire severity patterns and ultimately influence the resilience of post-fire landscapes to future fire. In areas where high-severity reburn is undesirable, managers should consider treatments that reduce the density and continuity of vegetation, standing snags, and large woody surface fuels. In areas where proactive reforestation
is necessary, planting in areas that are in rough or mesic terrain may reduce the likelihood of high-severity reburn. The results of our study also suggest that active post-fire management may be necessary in areas that have burned at low to moderate severity in order to maintain or promote the restorative benefits of an initial fire or to restore the dominance of fire resilient tree species.

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Life from the ashes: Exploring the impact of Rx and natural fire on insects and other invertebrates

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Register by 9/8 for early bird rate.

Life from the Ashes will explore the positive and negative impacts of prescribed and natural fire related to insects and other invertebrates in landscapes across North America. The symposium will provide research and practical insights to inform natural areas professionals as they manage landscapes with fire.

This program is provided in a collaboration between the Natural Areas Association (NAA) and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (Xerces). NAA serves those dedicated to the management and restoration of biologically important natural areas in North America. Xerces is an international nonprofit organization that protects the natural world through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats. Protecting nature requires reliable science to inform practices on-the-ground and a network of stewards who work tirelessly to protect, manage and restore land and water biodiversity.

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Effectiveness of post-fire soil erosion mitigation treatments: A review

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Wildfires are known to be one of the main causes of soil erosion and land degradation, and their impacts on ecosystems and society are expected to increase in the future due to changes in climate and land use. It is therefore vital to mitigate the increased hydrological and erosive response after wildfires to maintain the sustainability of ecosystems and protect the values at risk downstream from the fire-affected areas. Soil erosion mitigation treatments have been widely applied after wildfires but assessment of their effectiveness has been limited to local and regional-scale studies, whose conclusions may depend heavily on site-specific conditions. To overcome this limitation, a meta-analysis approach was applied to investigations of post-wildfire soil erosion mitigation treatments published in peer-reviewed journals.

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Effects of wildfire on collaborative management of rangelands: Soda fire case study

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Using interview data, we examined cross-boundary collaboration after the Soda Fire that burned approximately 113,312 ha (280,000 acres) of southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon. We found relationships established in other management contexts were activated by individuals within agencies to share funding and resources to rehabilitate the landscape after the Soda Fire. The fire’s spatial proximity to Boise, Idaho, and temporal proximity to important federal policy decisions were primary collaboration drivers. Barriers to collaborative efforts still exist; however, interviewees highlighted the importance of individual agency (bottom-up) changes in lessening top-down constraints.

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Reseeding and flood after wildfire

Webinar registration

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.

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Perspectives of a wildland fire investigator

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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.

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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

  • 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 registration

  • 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 registration

  • 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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Salvage science webinar series

The Salvage Science Series presents recent research on the effects of post-fire salvage logging and new tools for helping to plan salvage treatments.

This event is a three-stage process. First, watch the four pre-recorded webinars. Second, register for the May 6 panel discussion with the event speakers. Third, provide your questions for a specific speaker or more generally about salvage logging ahead of the discussion. These questions will help us frame the discussion and also help us plan a follow-up event on post-disturbance salvage treatment research and methods in the fall.

The event topics and speakers include:

Incorporating Woodpecker Habitat into Design of Post-Fire Salvage Logging- Recording

Vicki Saab – Research Wildlife Biologist, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Bozeman

Jonathan Dudley – Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Boise

Post-Fire Salvage Logging Effects on Soils, Runoff, and Sediment Production in Western Watersheds- Recording

Joe Wagenbrenner – Research Hydrologist, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Arcata

Is That Tree Dead? Predicting tree death after fire for salvage decisions- Recording

Sharon Hood – Research Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula

Understanding Post Wildfire Management Effects on Stand Structure and Woody Fuel Loadings- Recording

Morris Johnson – Research Fire Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station/FERA, Seattle

This event is co-hosted by the USDA Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station and the Joint Fire Science Program‘s Northern Rockies Fire Science NetworkSouthern Rockies Fire Science Network, and Northwest Fire Science Consortium.

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