According to the January 18 U.S. Drought Monitor, 99.6% of CA/NV is in drought, with 9.8% in Extreme (D3) or Exceptional (D4) Drought. The area in D3/D4 is down from 69.9% just one month ago, reflecting the barrage of storms that have brought rain and snow to the region since mid-fall. These storms have improved conditions but have not ended the drought. The current drought developed over many months to years and left huge water deficits.
Respondents were less confident in the accuracy of wind and precipitation forecasts than relative humidity or weather forecasts more generally. The influence of weather information on the decision depended on the framing used in the choice experiment; specifically, whether respondents were told the initial strategy had been to directly or indirectly attack the fire. Across conditions, fire managers generally preferred to indirectly attack the fire. Decisions about the tactics to apply going forward were more sensitive to time in season when the fire was occurring and wind and precipitation forecasts than to other attributes.
View technical report.
This report assesses recent forest disturbance in the Western United States and discusses implications for sustainability. Individual chapters focus on fire, drought, insects, disease, invasive plants, and socioeconomic impacts. Disturbance data came from a variety of sources, including the Forest Inventory and Analysis program, Forest Health Protection, and the National Interagency Fire Center. Disturbance trends with the potential to affect forest sustainability include alterations in fire regimes, periods of drought in some parts of the region, and increases in invasive plants, insects, and disease. Climate affects most disturbance processes, particularly drought, fire, and biotic disturbances, and climate change is expected to continue to affect disturbance processes in various ways and degrees.
This study demonstrates the importance of episodic periods of favorable weather for long-term plant population recovery following disturbance. Management strategies that increase opportunities for seed availability to coincide with favorable weather conditions, such as retaining unburned patches or repeated seeding treatments, can improve restoration outcomes in high-priority areas.
Check forum webpage for recordings or resources.
This year’s Forum focused on drought impacts for Idaho rangelands and strategies for moving landscapes and communities towards resilience. A diverse group of panelists and speakers presented on the economic, social, and ecological implications of drought, as well as solutions.
Members of the LANDFIRE Team will bring you a timely, relevant and succinct webinar describing three different applications of LANDFIRE data in published scientific literature from 2021. Our talk will start with a “30K foot view” of how LANDFIRE data is (generally) used by students, academics and agencies. We will then spotlight three example scientific papers each with a unique focus on drought, fire and climate change. We will highlight general findings, and touch on the LANDFIRE datasets, applications used for each journal article.
Papers we will discuss:
1. Drought Sensitivity and Trends of Riparian Vegetation Vigor in Nevada, USA (1985–2018) | Albano, Christina, McGwire, K.C., Hausner, M.B., McEvoy, D.J., Morton, C.G., Huntington, J.L. (LANDFIRE Existing Vegetation Type classification used)
2. The Importance of Small Fires for Wildfire Hazard in Urbanized Landscapes of the Northeastern US | Carlson, Amanda R., Sebasky, M.E., Peters, M.P, Radeloff, V.C (LANDFIRE Fuels products used)
3. Modelling Species Distributions and Environmental Suitability Highlights Risk of Plant Invasions in Western US | McMahon, Devin, E., Urza, A.K., Brown, J.L., Phelan, C., Chambers, J.C. (LANDFIRE Reference Database used)
There will be 15 minutes at the end of this discussion for Q/A. Bring your questions – we’ll see you there.
Conflagrations like the 1871 Peshtigo have reemerged as important threats across North America and around the world. Understanding the factors and the phenomena that produced the fire environment of that day is possible because of weather observations collected and recorded at the time and studies of extreme fire behavior that continue to this day. Recounting it should be a cautionary tale for our lives as we continue to live them.
According to the August 10, 2021 U.S. Drought Monitor, 94% of the Pacific Northwest Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) is in drought. Additionally, drought conditions are rapidly intensifying. Almost 25% of the region is in Exceptional Drought (D4), up from 3% just a month ago. Wildfires are raging, sending smoke throughout the rest of the Lower 48. This webinar will feature recent and current conditions, outlooks, as well as a presentation on communicating research to help understand what makes communities vulnerable to wildfire.
These webinars provide the region’s stakeholders and interested parties with timely information on current and developing drought conditions, as well as climatic events like El Niño and La Niña. Speakers will also discuss the impacts of these conditions on things such as wildfires, floods, disruption to water supply and ecosystems, as well as impacts to affected industries like agriculture, tourism, and public health.
Climate Recap & Current Conditions
Nick Bond | Office of the Washington State Climatologist
Seasonal Conditions & Climate Outlook
Robin Fox | Spokane Weather Forecast Office, National Weather Service
FireEarth: Communicating Research to Help Understand What Makes Communities Vulnerable to Wildfire
Sonia Hall | Washington State University
Pollinator familial richness, diversity, abundance, and timing of emergence were most strongly positively associated with spatiotemporal variation in minimum daily temperatures at the ground surface during the active season. Emergence timing was positively correlated with growing degree days and percent humidity, regardless of elevation. All pollinator groups varied in abundance throughout their active season, peaking in early July (bees), late July (flies), or early August (butterflies and moths). Our findings suggest that changes in nighttime temperatures, which have been steadily increasing over the last several decades as a result of climate change, may have strong effects on sagebrush steppe pollinator communities. Also, non-bee pollinators may provide particularly important pollination in this vast ecosystem during the warmest time of the year.
- Examined agency/utility wildfire safety, mitigation measures and resiliency planning for future fire weather
- Promoted learning about research focused on wildfire effects on water quality (sediment, contaminants) and water supply in our region and how we can improve our practices
- Discussed how forests, shrublands and rivers are recovering or being impacted by invasive plants and biodiversity loss
- Promoted understand how state and local agencies are preparing and responding to increased threat of wildfire