Fire Science News for the Lake States Region - June 2016

In This Issue

Consortium Staff
Jack McGowan-Stinski
Program Manager

Administrative Committee
The Ohio State University
Charles Goebel, PI
David Hix, Co-PI
Eric Toman, Co-PI
Michigan State University
Jessica Miesel, Co-PI 
Wayne State University
Dan Kashian, Co-PI 
Greg Corace, Co-PI
USFS Northern Research
Brian Palik, Co-PI
Randy Kolka, Co-PI

Advisory Committee

Jim Barnier, WDNR
Marty Casselius, BIA
Paul Charland, USFWS
Matt Graeve, TNC
Steve Goldman, USFS
Dave Heaman, OMNR
Andy Henriksen, NRCS
Michele Richards MI NG
Mark Sargent, MI DNR
Scott Weyenberg, NPS

June 2016:
Volume 7, Issue 6

  July 2016 Webinar  


Finding the Best Science Available on Fire Ecology and Fire Regimes in Eastern Ecosystems

Join us for our next webinar in cooperation with the North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange and Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers and Scientists highlighting the new fire features of the Fire Effects Information System (FEIS)

July 27, 2016 at 1 PM ET/ 12 PM CT/ 11 PM MT

Robin Innes and Ilana Abrahamson
USDA-Forest Service
Managers and planners need scientifically sound information on historical fire regimes and contemporary changes in fuels and fire regimes to make informed management decisions. To address this need, two new fire regime publications—Fire Regime Reports and Fire Regime Syntheses—are now available and spatially searchable in the recently updated user interface for the Fire Effects Information System (FEIS). FEIS staff defined 185 fire regimes by grouping the ~2,500 Biophysical Settings (BpS) models produced by LANDFIRE according to similarities in vegetation, modeled fire-return intervals and fire severities, and geographic location. Fire Regime Reports are brief summaries of these models, while Fire Regime Syntheses add comprehensive, thoroughly documented reviews of the scientific literature to information in the Fire Regime Reports. Fire Regime Syntheses provide managers with the best science available on historical fire frequency, spatial pattern, extent, and seasonality; historical ignition sources; and typical patterns of fire intensity and severity. They also provide information on contemporary changes in fuels, especially in relation to their potential to influence fire regimes, and identify regions and plant communities lacking fire history data. Together, these publications help managers develop plans and make informed decisions about local management of fire and fuels. In the updated user interface, they are easy to access using a variety of search criteria, including plant community type and map location, and they are linked to nearly 1,100 FEIS Species Reviews. 

  Wisconsin Fire Needs Assessment Published  

Prioritizing land management efforts at a landscape scale: a case study using prescribed fire in Wisconsin
Tracy L. Hmielowski, Sarah K. Carter, Hannah Spaul, David Helmers, Volker C. Radeloff,  and
Paul Zedler

One challenge in the effort to conserve biodiversity is identifying where to prioritize resources for active land management. Cost–benefit analyses have been used successfully as a conservation tool to identify sites that provide the greatest conservation benefit per unit cost. Our goal was to apply cost–benefit analysis to the question of how to prioritize land management efforts, in our case the application of prescribed fire to natural landscapes in Wisconsin, USA. We quantified and mapped frequently burned communities and prioritized management units based on a suite of indices that captured ecological benefits, management effort, and the feasibility of successful long-term management actions. Data for these indices came from LANDFIRE, Wisconsin’s Wildlife Action Plan, and a nationwide wildland–urban interface assessment. We found that the majority of frequently burned vegetation types occurred in the southern portion of the state. However, the highest priority areas for applying prescribed fire occurred in the central, northwest, and northeast portion of the state where frequently burned vegetation patches were larger and where identified areas of high biological importance area occurred. Although our focus was on the use of prescribed fire in Wisconsin, our methods can be adapted to prioritize other land management activities. Such prioritization is necessary to achieve the greatest possible benefits from limited funding for land management actions, and our results show that it is feasible at scales that are relevant for land management decisions. 

Ecological Applications, 26(4), 2016, pp. 1018–1029, © 2016 by the Ecological Society of America

  Landscape-fire relationships inferred from bearing trees in Minnesota  

Bearing or witness trees in Public Land Surveys can be used to infer fire settings at the landscape level.

Using GIS: 1) trees were classified as pyrophilic or pyrophobic; 2) pyrophilic percentages at survey corners (points) were calculated based on tree-class data; and 3) this was used to create a continuous response surface of pyrophilic percentage.

Ecological units should reflect important fundamental processes, including fire in this part of the world. The efficacy of ecological units to depict historic fire settings at 4 levels (Province, Section, Subsection, and Landtype Association) was evaluated . Overall, 74 out of 79 ecological units captured fire settings. Recommended changes have been made to better align ecological unit boundaries with historic fire settings.

  A Different Approach to Our Wildfire Message  

by Gloria Erickson and Matt Frank

Is there a different way to reach out to people when relaying our wildfire message - a more personalized message, a message that tells a story, a message that doesn't come from a "fire expert"? How do we get people to "own it," to see their role in helping their communities be more resilient to wildfire?

These are the questions I had been asking myself when I came up with this "crazy" idea to do an art exhibition about the concept of living with wildfire. The idea stemmed from multiple community-oriented purposes - personalizing our relationship with wildfire, creating a venue for local artists to display and sell their artworks, and increasing traffic for local business owners where the artwork will be displayed. I was also inspired by the community-based wildfire art project that our [Fire Adapted Communities] partners in Flagstaff -- the Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership -- conducted in previous years.

In Ely, Minnesota the Donald G. Gardner Trust Fund annually offers an artistic project grant that benefits our community. My idea was a little out of the box, but with the assistance of my colleagues at Dovetail Partners, our proposal was accepted and we received a grant to do an art exhibition called "Living with Wildfire." The exhibit seeks to highlight experiences and reflections about wildfire from residents' perspectives through two- and three-dimensional artworks.


  Research Brief on Fire-oak research synthesis: What do we know?   

This Brief from the North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange features highlights from the recent Joint Fire Science Program funded Fire-Oak Synthesis by Brose, Dey, and Waldrop from 2014.

  LANDFIRE BpS Review Submission Deadline Extended to October 31st  

When LANDFIRE reached a recent high mark of 4,000 Biophysical Settings (BpS) review documents downloaded, keeping the momentum going gained importance. To that end, the deadline to submit reviews has been extended from June 30 to October 31. 

The LANDFIRE BpS review project launched earlier this year in order to engage vegetation ecologists, fire managers and other land management practitioners in an effort to update and improve more than 1,000 BpS descriptions across the country. The review entails reading and commenting on a 4-to-10 page MS-Word document at one’s own setting and pace (we estimate that a review takes less than an hour). 

The engagement in the the improvement of LANDFIRE’s “encyclopedia of ecosystems” has been enthusiastic. LANDFIRE’s commitment to reviewers remains the same: through October 31, 2016, the TNC LANDFIRE Team will consider incorporating reviewer suggestions in the next delivered version of the BpS models/descriptions. After that date, BpS model/description reviews will be compiled with others and considered for incorporation at a later date.

The BpS Review website will continue to be available to help the user community comment on the product suite. Our goal is to develop a “continuous improvement” process where updated BpS models are delivered on a periodic basis. 

Help update and improve this important encyclopedia of scientific knowledge. Download descriptions, edit the documents, and share what you know with the wider natural resource community.  Visit the dedicated BpS Review website for full details.

  Wildfire risk as a Socioecological Pathology  

Fischer, A. P., et al. (2016). "Wildfire risk as a socioecological pathology." Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14(5): 276-284.

Wildfire risk in temperate forests has become a nearly intractable problem that can be characterized as a socioecological “pathology”: that is, a set of complex and problematic interactions among social and ecological systems across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Assessments of wildfire risk could benefit from recognizing and accounting for these interactions in terms of socioecological systems, also known as coupled natural and human systems (CNHS). We characterize the primary social and ecological dimensions of the wildfire risk pathology, paying particular attention to the governance system around wildfire risk, and suggest strategies to mitigate the pathology through innovative planning approaches, analytical tools, and policies. We caution that even with a clear understanding of the problem and possible solutions, the system by which human actors govern fire-prone forests may evolve incrementally in imperfect ways and can be expected to resist change even as we learn better ways to manage CNHS.

Read the full article

  Risk Management: Core Principles and Practices, and Their Relevance to Wildland Fire  


  Opportunities to utilize traditional phenological knowledge to support adaptive management of social-ecological systems vulnerable to changes in climate and fire regimes  

Photo credit: The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

Topics Addressed in this Synthesis:
  • Adaptive management and traditional phenological knowledge
  • Historic and potential applications of traditional phenological knowledge to manage and adapt to uncharacteristic fire regimes and climate change
  • Applying traditional phenological knowledge (tpk) for adaptive management

  Prescribed fire liability Factsheet: Standards of Care  

This fact sheet from Great Plains Fire Science Exchange highlights prescribed fire liability in different States (Gross or Simple Negligence, Strict Liability, or Undefined), including Minnesota and Wisconsin (both Strict Liability) and Michigan (Gross Negligence).

  Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Officials – Updated Version  

Now posted on EPA’s AirNow website, get it HERE

  The 2015-2016 JFSP Progress Report is available  


Regional Fire Trainings

If you are offering fire courses in the next year please send information to Jack McGowan-Stinski so we can post in future newsletters for you.

Conferences and Workshops in the Region

Forest Stewards Guild National Meeting
July 13-15, 2016 in Duluth, MN
The Forest Stewards Guild 2016 National Meeting is happening in Duluth, Minnesota, and surrounding field sites July 13-15, 2016. We're joining forces with the Minnesota Society of American Foresters and The Nature Conservancy Chapters in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan to explore the themes of
Restoration, Conservation and Collaboration.
Register here


Conferences and Workshops in the U.S. and Canada

Wildland Fire Canada 2016: Building Resilience
October 24 to 28, 2016 in Kelowna, British Columbia.
The Wildland Fire Canada conference is a biennial conference series that brings together forest fire management practitioners, researchers and industry to highlight and discuss emerging trends in forest fire management. submissions! Abstracts for oral or poster presentations will be accepted until June 30th. 

Second International Smoke Symposium
November 11-14. 2016 in Long Beach, CA
Registration will open on July 1, 2016

3rd Southwest Fire Ecology Conference - Beyond Hazardous Fuels: Managing Fire for Social, Economic, and Ecological Benefits.and held concurrently with the held concurrently with the 1st Applied Fire Science Workshop
November 28-December 2, 2016.  Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Tucson, Arizona. USA. Organized by AFE and Southwest Fire Science Consortium.  

As part of the Southwest conference this year, we plan to host roundtable discussions designed to identify communication issues that occur during wildfires, to understand and appreciate varied perspectives, and to brainstorm scenarios where good communication enables managers to meet resource objectives more readily.  Socioeconomic implications of fire will also be a large part of the conference.  We will have Workshops & Trainings, Attached Meetings, Rx 310 Class, and several field trip options.  Plan to join us in Tucson for this important event! 
Early Bird Registration Now Open
October 1, 2016 Proposals due for Attached Meetings

Wildfire in the Northeast Workshop 
An Instructional, Practical and Pragmatic Approach to Wildfire Prevention and Mitigation
December 6-8, 2016 Mystic, CT

77th Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference
February 5 - 8, 2017 Lincoln, Nebraska

Mark Your Calendars!  7th International Fire Ecology & Management Congress
November 2017. Orlando, Florida, USA.                             

Want to submit an article, post an event or training, or contribute a success story?

Does your agency, organization, or community have a wildland fire science project, event, training, or story you would like to see featured in the Lake States Fire Science Consortium Newsletter? 
Please send submissions to Jack McGowan-Stinski.
Copyright © 2016 Lake States Fire Science Consortium, All rights reserved.
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