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PNW December 2021 Drought and Climate Outlook

Webinar recording.

According to the November 23, 2021 U.S. Drought Monitor, 89% of the Pacific Northwest Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) is in drought, with over 40% of the region in Extreme/Exceptional Drought (D3/D4). Atmospheric Rivers continue to hit parts of the region and more are on the way, They are improving conditions, but precipitation deficits in some areas are huge. This webinar will feature recent and current conditions, outlooks, as well as presentations on a “Smoke Ready Community” and “An Analysis of the Impact of Drought on Agriculture, Local Economies, Public Health, and Crime Across the Western United States.”

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Comparing air quality and public health impacts from prescribed fire and wildfire smoke

Webinar recording.

This webinar will introduce the recent release of the EPA Report on Comparing Air Quality and Public Health Impacts from Prescribed Fire and Wildfire Smoke.

Jason Sacks, with the Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will present an overview of the studies that provided the information for this report aimed at helping federal, state, local and Tribal partners and fire organizations make risk management decisions to reduce the impacts of wildfire smoke in their communities.

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Wildfire smoke may have contributed to thousands more COVID-19 cases and deaths

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Thousands of COVID-19 cases and deaths in California, Oregon, and Washington between March and December 2020 may be attributable to increases in fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) from wildfire smoke, according to a new study co-authored by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Prescribed fire smoke and community health: Successes from smoke-ready communities

Webinar recording.

Join the Western Region of the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) and the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network (FAC Net) for a panel-style webinar.

See also, this Smoke Resources List developed from the webinar.

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Wildfire smoke and health

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.

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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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3D fuel characterization for modeling of wildland fire behavior and smoke

Webinar recording.

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.

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Smoke Management Guide for Prescribed Fire

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The NWCG Smoke Management Guide for Prescribed Fire contains information on prescribed fire smoke management techniques, air quality regulations, smoke monitoring, modeling, communication, public perception of prescribed fire and smoke, climate change, practical meteorological approaches, and smoke tools. The primary focus of this document is to serve as the textbook in support of NWCG’s RX-410, Smoke Management Techniques course which is required for the position of Prescribed Fire Burn Boss Type 2 (RXB2). The Guide is useful to all who use prescribed fire, from private land owners to federal land managers, with practical tools, and underlying science. Many chapters are helpful for addressing air quality impacts from wildfires. It is intended to assist those who are following the guidance of the NWCG’s Interagency Prescribed Fire Planning and Implementation Procedures Guide, PMS 484,  in planning for, and addressing, smoke when conducting prescribed fires.

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Wildfire smoke: A guide for public health officials

Access the guide.

This document, originally developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), is designed to help local public health officials prepare for smoke events, to take measures to protect the public when smoke is present, and communicate with the public about wildfire smoke and health.

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Wildfire smoke cools summer river and stream water temperatures

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This study analyzed data on summer wildfire smoke, solar radiation, air temperatures, precipitation, river discharge, and water temperatures in the lower Klamath River Basin in Northern California. Previous studies have focused on the effect of combustion heat on water temperatures during fires and the effect of riparian vegetation losses on postfire water temperatures, but we know of no studies of the effects of wildfire smoke on river or stream water temperatures. Smoke had a cooling effect on water temperatures at all 12 river and stream locations analyzed. On average, smoke cooled daily maximum and mean water temperatures by 1.32 °C and 0.74 °C per 1.0 AOT, respectively. This smoke-induced cooling has the potential to benefit cold-water adapted species, particularly because wildfires are more likely to occur during the warmest and driest years and seasons.

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